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Best Practices for Flacks?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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In a recent article in PR News covering a November 30 Media Relations Conference in Washington, DC at the National Press Club, Bill Miltenberg mentioned five good practices for flacks to follow. The tips were meant to help us become more successful in our relations with journalists and the media.
Without copying and pasting what Miltenberg wrote, I will give you his thoughts in my own words and offer some comments.
1. A picture or a video “always” wins! Miltenberg noted in his article that Alison Gary commented that in today’s Pinterest land of media, the bigger the image or video, the better. Gray noted that an image or a video is now a “must have” in any press release. Quality of images and video is also important; most publications specify that images must be at least 300 dots per inch. As in the adage of editorial copy, so true with images and video: It is always easier to have as large a file as possible. The journalist or media outlet can always edit to fit.
2. Know what content your media outlets crave. Depending on the outlet, embedding codes for audio may be the best way to go. Same is true thing for video. And, conversely, this means doing a little research (easily done these days via Google and other sites) before you submit your pitch.
3. Put what media wants in your press center. This means try to think of what journalists and media would like to see in your newsroom or on your website. If you are dealing with B2B media, a headshot of the company CEO or COO or Chairman of the Board plus a story or video makes for attention-grabbing user experience.
4. Know who you need to contact. If we all get irritated with emails or letters that say “Dear PR Manager,” can you imagine how annoyed someone who blogs about their industry or who writes for industrial trade media would be if a communication to them started with “Dear ‘anonymous’”? As with tip no. 2, a little research via Google into the blog site or publication, as well as media kits for publications, will give you the name of the person you seek. Even if your pitch person is not the precise one to reach, it will still be recognized that you did some serious homework before making your pitch.
5. Know your audience. This applies not only to journalists and media, but also to the wider audience you are trying to reach. Taking the time to custom tailor your pitch or press kit to the specific needs of the target audience will pay off in the longer run.

I would like to hear your thoughts and comments.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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