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Original articles from Muck Rack.
You Can Do Your Own Public Relations—Here’s How
I read with interest the post of fellow contributor and PR expert Robert Wynne on why you can’t do your own public relations. I agree with the value of agency connections and the need for media training before going into interviews or appearing on air. But on his other points—the discouragement of rejection, the risk of poor writing, and social media fails, I disagree that agencies...

8 Qualities of Clients You Know You Want to Work With
As a PR pro, there are opportunities to work with many different types of clients. Large enterprise clients. Smaller startup clients. Nonprofit clients. Clients in various industries. No matter the size or industry, as those of us in public relations know, there are clients who stand out from the rest.

How PR Pros Can Get More Backlinks in their Media Efforts
In the digital age, every company tries to gain as much traffic as they can and rank in the top 10 positions on search. It’s no wonder that so many companies’ PR efforts are now aligned with SEO – professionals pitch stories to the media with the aim of building brand awareness and also gaining links from authority sites.

A Seasoned PR Pro’s Thoughts on the Facebook Journalism Project
You may or may not have heard about the new Facebook Journalism Project, where Facebook is trying to collaborate with media organizations and users, and improve how we share stories and digest news. “We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner…”

6 Important Questions Communicators Need to Ask in a Crisis
When we work with our clients in crisis communications planning, we walk through the following questions: 1. What’s the worst that could happen? This is where you brainstorm every possible worst case scenario that could happen to your organization. This should capture everything from marketing campaigns...

Why Storytelling is Crucial for Authentic Communication
You’ll often hear that public relations is an industry built on relationships. This is true, and one of many elements that goes hand in hand with healthy relationships is authenticity. The word authenticity itself can bring to mind half-baked attempts to be genuine with audiences...

Did You Know That If You Work in PR, You Are a Reporter?
After having worked in radio, television and newspaper newsrooms before entering the business of public relations, one of the first unexpected realizations I had was that there were days I felt more like a reporter in the field of PR than I did on those days I had to scramble from task to task in a newsroom. The reasons may not have been so obvious then, but they were pretty basic.

Spring is Here: 5 Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Media Relations Efforts
Ah, spring – it’s here. We’ve begun to feel it in the air. It’s a rebirth of sorts, a time when things come out of hibernation and start to blossom. Maybe it’s time for us to bring our media relations approach out of the winter doldrums, too. Let’s take a fresh look at the way we’re doing things to see how our approach is working for us...

7 Questions Reporters Should Ask PR Pros
When you work with reporters on almost a daily basis, you learn a lot of about the media industry. You pick up nuances among publications and outlets and working styles of different reporters. You also get asked a lot of questions (and that’s okay, because I ask a ton right back).

Are Infographics on Their Deathbed?
A new report from a company called Clutch suggests the pulse of infographics – at the heart of many content marketing strategies – is weakening. But to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, are reports of the death of infographics greatly exaggerated? In a Clutch news release about its report, Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO software company Moz, practically delivers a eulogy for infographics.

No Haters Here: Eight PR Pros & Journalists on Building Better Relationships
In PR Pros vs. Journalists: Pet Peeve Showdown, eight journalists and public relations professionals shared their gripes with the other side of the aisle. If you’ve worked in either capacity, their complaints might have sounded familiar. But they didn’t paint a full picture. PR folks and reporters also manage to, occasionally, work in harmony. There’s a necessary and symbiotic tie between the two groups...

When Agencies Turn PR Newbies Loose on Journalists
If you work in a newsroom, chances are at some point you may have found yourself wondering, “Are the people who work in PR agencies getting younger? And why is it my job to groom them?” The simple answer is no, they’re not getting younger, you’re getting older.

What #OscarsSoWrong Teaches about Crisis Communication
These are just a few of the witty remarks on social media when Faye Dunaway, standing with a befuddled Warren Beatty, announced incorrectly that La La Land won Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars. It's not the worst thing that ever happened, but the producer, cast and crew of Moonlight...

Six Ideas Cooler Than a Press Release
We’ve been asking for years whether it’s time we lay the press release to rest. While it seems this question still looms, we are instead exploring and adding new ways to share information and tell stories. And these are undoubtedly more creative, innovative, and flexible than a press release. Some might say even...cooler. Here are more creative ways to consider...

A Former TV Reporter Says: 'Here's how 'the media' really works'
Whenever something major happens, all the experts come out of the woodwork. When a child falls into a gorilla exhibit at a zoo, it’s the parenting experts. When a gorilla is killed in that exhibit, it’s the animal experts. Today, it’s the political/foreign policy/religion/immigration experts.

Six Tips to Ease a Reporter’s Workload
Congratulations! Your fabulous public relations strategy, precision targeting and customized pitching have been rewarded with a journalist requesting a client interview. Are you going to cap all that hard work by giving that reporter excellent service – the kind of professionalism you afford to your clients, making him feel loved and pampered? Or will you provide sloppy coordination and communication that ensures he will never want to work with you again? Once a journalist, producer or blogger says, “yes” to interviewing your experts...

So, You Want to Win a Reporter’s Heart? Use These Five Tips
Yes, we all know it’s true — journalists and PR pros don’t always get along. While we strive to achieve healthy relationships with reporters, we sometimes miss the mark. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve our media relations efforts to try to win over our friends in the journalistic world. The question is, what’s the best way to do this?

6 PR Principles We Often Forget
Amongst the tumultuous, unpredictable changes in the industry, the basics of what we aim to accomplish as PR professionals may sometimes become overlooked. Particularly in times when you feel stuck, it’s important to stop and evaluate your progress.

Three Media Pet Peeves From an Experienced PR Pro
Watching my Twitter feed each day, it is not uncommon to see journalists I follow complaining about public relations professionals. Complaints range from terrible pitches they received, press releases sent to them with no contact information or everyday gripes about working with us PR people that tick them off. The grumbles never seem to subside.

Stop Making These Common Mistakes in Your PR and Media Outreach
It’s no secret the relationship between PR professionals and the media is far from perfect. PR pros feel neglected and ignored after spending hours upon hours researching and pitching the best fit reporter, while journalists feel as if they’re being professionally ghosted or catfished by publicists. Searching for interest in all of the wrong places, failing to prove...

The Rise of the Citizen Journalist
There is no question that social media has crept its way into public relations strategies over the past few years. Less like a slithering snake creeping up on its prey and more like a lovestruck teenager throwing rocks at your window in the middle of the night. Bottom line, they’re just meant to be together. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t around to witness Lloyd Dobler holding the boombox...

How to Hit the Ground Running with a New Client
Hooray, you’ve landed a new client! Whether you work at an agency, a boutique firm or on your own as a consultant, this is great news. But, once you’ve come down from the “high” of winning the business, the reality sets in.

Five Bad*ass Media Relations Resolutions for the New Year
It’s that time for New Year’s resolutions, and most of us know the drill by now. With the best of intentions, we set out to chart a new course with a clean slate, whether it be to develop better habits in our personal lives or professional lives. To be sure, there’s no magic to a New Year’s resolution. Most resolutions aren’t new ideas...

Eight Roadblocks to Successful PR
Doing great work involves not only executing well, but also being able to identify what is preventing you from doing so. Accepting roadblocks we come across can restrict us from accelerating our work and professional growth. As we're starting a new year, likely new plans and efforts, start breaking down some of these roadblocks to put success in motion...

Eight Ways to Stay Productive at Work During the Holiday Season
The holiday season has become a time of overabundance. There are too many parties, too many gifts, too much food and too many twinkling lights (read: shiny objects) to distract us. Interestingly, in the midst of too much, work for communicators tends to slow down (unless you’re an event planner, then we just feel sorry for you).

What are the Ground Rules for Recording a Media Interview?
So, you’re a little nervous about that media interview coming up. Maybe it’s for print or the web, or maybe it’s for video. You expect it to be hostile. You’re not sure what all the questions will be, but one thing that won’t surprise you is the possibility that your side of the story won’t get a fair hearing. In making preparations, you’ve thought about recording the interview yourself.

An Open Letter to Journalists: Here's What We Wish You Knew
Most of us in public relations love what we do. With lots of variety and the opportunity to impact a brand’s bottom line, what’s not to like? Like any career, though, it can sometimes be tough. For example, we in PR often read that journalists don’t like us very much. Maybe it’s because there are so many of us. With more public relations practitioners than ever...

When to Use Facebook Live to Tell a Story
The future of social is here and it’s going to be streamed, live and in color. Video has slowly taken over the internet. It’s not something that happened overnight -- this has been a steady progression and all social networks have responded to it. And it’s not just short-form video (#RIPVine) anymore, it’s longer form video which allows...

Are PR Case Studies Worthwhile?
It’s almost a new year, and many brands are reviewing PR firms and consultants for potential outside support. At the same time, agencies are coming off hiring freezes and on the hunt for A-list talent to bolster their roster. In many cases, they’re all looking for that "wow factor" in terms of credentials and experience. Firms and people with resumes that boast award-winning campaigns...

A Holiday Gift Guide for the PR Industry Professional
So, it’s officially the holiday season (where did 2016 go?) and you’re likely doing some sort of holiday shopping. You’re looking for the ideal gift for family, friends, and of course--your coworkers. Searching for ideas? Well, look no further. Here is a handy gift guide for the PR industry professional and all your friends. Your favorite client/spokesperson: A story of their dreeeammss.

5 Ways a Personal Development Plan Can Help Your Communications Career
Companies generally herald the end of the year with the often-dreaded employee review. While an annual review is an opportunity to learn how you are viewed by your supervisor, it offers only a top down view on which you must base not only your reply, but your planning for the following year. It is a reactive, rather than proactive, planning tool.

A Smart Way to Get Your Client in the News: Surveys and Studies
On a pretty regular basis, there are stories in the media based on surveys and studies. You might wonder where these come from and how they get in the media. The press release or PR pitch based on a study or a survey are good ways for a PR client or company to use their intellectual know-how to showcase their expertise.

Three Things to Do Before You Pitch
We’ve all read tons of articles and gotten advice from colleagues and managers on how to pitch the media. Do this and don’t do that. Well, this article isn’t about how to pitch the media, but hopefully will be helpful before you pitch the media. We’ve all done it. You hear about the story angle/pitch and you get all excited...

5 Ways to Write Pitches Journalists Will Be Thankful For
No doubt about it. Fall is here and Thanksgiving is next week! For many, this holiday is all about family, friends, food, and football—and of course, remembering what we’re thankful for. In the spirit of giving thanks, what can we as PR pros do to make journalists lives easier when it comes to sending pitches—and make them...

These Aren't PR Tips
Yes, I’m a public relations strategist who writes columns with – hopefully – helpful tips for other PR professionals. How helpful? I have no idea. I’m sure plenty of people read my articles and think I’m an idiot. That’s fine. They might have a point. But, I’m also a public relations strategist who reads other articles filled with PR tips. I certainly don’t know everything and I love learning about how...

5 Steps to a Stress Free Holiday for PR Pros
I’m totally one of those holiday fanatics. I want to be at every tree lighting, carol singing, present exchange, holiday bake-off, and I say yes to every holiday party invite. Of course, I’m also a PR professional (and blogger), so my life is hectic even when it’s not the holidays. A whole month of festivities and a steady workload? Yeah. It’s no wonder I suffered a burnout...

The 6 Personalities on Every PR Team
The success of most teams is guided by different experience, breadth and depth of knowledge and creativity to achieve one goal. Think about your current team and others you have been on. Have you ever noticed that most of your colleagues fall into a few character categories of PR professional? Which one are you?

Journalists Weigh In on What Works and What Doesn't at Media Events
If you’ve worked in PR for a least a few years, you’ve likely, in some way, been involved with hosting or planning a media event. Whether it’s a new product launch, holiday gift guide feature or professional panel, there’s one thing that media want, and that’s interesting content to share with their audience.

What’s the Drill for Dealing with the Changing of the Guard?
It happens in every newsroom and in every PR office – the changing of the guard. Given the current operating environment, change is not only a constant, it’s the new norm. Newsrooms downsize, shift focus, go digital, go big and go small. Communications departments and public relations agencies...

How Media & PR React to a Crisis in the Age of Information Overload and Trump
Donald Trump may be the perfect metaphor for crisis communications today. A crisis has always brought out lots of internal corporate or personal angst and media coverage and the dark art of crisis PR. But today, it seems like a crisis moves at warp speed – fueled by social media and cable news. In what may be a playbook for the future, when Trump tweets at 3 a.m. or steps into a controversy, his team, the Clinton campaign, voters and the media all react and the crisis hits overdrive.

Four Habits PR Pros Need to Ditch
The public relations profession is booming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of PR people has more than doubled since 2000. And, as public relations, content marketing and social media converge, there are more opportunities than ever for professionals joining the PR ranks. But, as we grow in number, PR pros need to make sure to keep their skills sharp.

Demystifying PR Deliverables
Every industry has its jargon and PR is no exception. While it might make us sound smart, it doesn’t help if our prospective clients have no idea what we’re talking about. I thought it was high time we demystify those ‘deliverables’ by explaining what they are and more importantly, how they should be used. Here's a primer to public relations deliverables and how you can use them to get results for your company or clients.

The ABCs of Tweeting Your Way to PR Success
I have a confession to make. Picking up a phone and cold calling, isn’t something I do well. In fact, I downright hate it. A job in sales would never be my jam. So naturally, people are often surprised to learn that someone that hates calling strangers would be even remotely good at PR. But here’s the thing. In our current PR world, cold calling journalists is out and leveraging social media is in.

Six Ways Technology Has Disrupted Public Relations
October's here, meaning it's that time of year again for scary monsters, super creeps, and... are your lights turned on? Are your doors locked? Because as television's favorite witchy woman is all too fond of saying, "The night is dark and full of terrors, none more horrifying than..." PUBLIC RELATIONS DISRUPTION.

Five Ways Startups Hurt Their PR Campaigns
As publicists, it’s our job to advise clients on strategy, and sometimes, run interference on things they shouldn’t have done (or said). Having worked with my fair share of startups, I noticed that the same snafus came up again and again, across industries, that I didn’t experience with bigger companies.

Three Things PR Pros Need to Stop Doing
In my last series (Three things PR bosses should stop doing Part 1and Part 2), I took aim at some of the behaviors of certain PR bosses that really put a bur in my saddle. So, it’s only fair that I now point out some of the habits of PR employees that can really irritate the manager.

For PR Pros, Content Creation Has Always Been Part of Our World
Content marketing—some say it’s a buzzword. A few years ago, you barely heard it. Now, there are entire events devoted to it. One such event is Content Marketing World (or CMWorld), held each September. I attended this year’s conference. You may ask, “But why would a PR pro attend a content marketing conference?” Answer: PR pros are content creation specialists.

My 10 (Least) Favorite Kinds of Clients
Last week, I shared my 10 favorite kinds of clients- clients who understand the role of PR, respect the team and expertise, pay on time and share similar values. Unfortunately, not every client is a good client. These are the prospects that I have learned will lead only to misery. Here are the 10 prospects I run far away from when they come calling. 1. They want me to sell them on why they need PR. I have no problem telling a prospect why they should choose my company, but I’ve learned that it is not my job to convert...

The “Blah Blah Blah” Behind AP Style and the Language of Disabilities
In an era where we can get slammed on social media for being overly sensitive to some things while not being sensitive enough on others, the last thing we may need is a new set of sanctioned terminology to use in our writing. For that reason alone, the purpose here is not to add a new layer of politically correct language to your writing.

My 10 Favorite Kinds of Clients
When I launched my PR business in 2013, I was willing to take on any client I believed I could help. I was idealistic. I was capable. I was naive. Now, after nearly four years and twenty-some clients later, I am much more selective. I have learned from experience who my best clients are likely to be, and who I should run, not walk from.

Nine Things that Make PR People Want to Cry
Cry - verb: to shed tears, especially as an expression of distress or pain. Public relations is a great profession. There’s variety, excitement and let’s not forget, a chance to have a real impact on an organization’s image and visibility. But….then, as with any career, there are those days that are less than fabulous. When those moments arise, yes, we want to cry.

Three Things PR Bosses Should Stop Doing
Ever had a really bad boss? We've likely all been there at some point in our careers. We all want to work as a team and help each other out so that we can perform at our best for our clients, but some behaviors by the higher ups are simply counterproductive. Now, before I get into some things that PR bosses...

Five AP Stylebook Rules Media Writers Should Ignore
Professional media writers and PR professionals are attached to our Associated Press Stylebooks. If we’re writing, chances are that our trusty AP Stylebooks are nearby, providing answers to our questions and leading us to the writing consistency our readers have come to expect, whether they realize it or not. The Associated Press, the world’s oldest news service, began creating...

10 Things PR Account Managers Do That They Really Shouldn't
In my PR career (so far) I’ve worked with a lot of account managers (26 at last count). I’ve worked under them as an AA or AE, alongside them as a fellow AM and I’ve managed them, as the owner of an integrated marketing agency with a heavy focus on PR. They’ve run the gamut from the appalling to the outstanding. I decided to compile a list of ten things that an account manager...

Don't Forget Sunscreen: How to Not Get Burned During the Slow Summer Months
Who doesn’t love summer? There’s lazy days on the beach, pool parties, cookouts, fireworks, road trips…There’s an endless ocean of possibilities for fun in the sun. I live and breathe summer. But while summer is good for the soul, the vibes, and a sure fire way to get a great tan - it can be a bit of a bummer for those...

Yes, Reporters, You Need to Answer Your Emails
Journalists have a serious communication problem. We like to vent about bad PR practices, and sometimes it's well-deserved. But every time I've turned the tables and asked PR pros what bugs them most about us, the answer is always the same: "Journalists don't answer their emails." On the one hand, it's understandable. We get dozens, even hundreds, of new pitches every single day.

If You're Going to Pitch the Media by Phone, Do These Three Things
I’ve read some articles recently from media members explaining why they almost always prefer to be pitched via email as opposed to annoying phone calls. Considering how they receive these phone calls and how they are treated, I can more than understand. The truth is: a very large number of public relations professionals simply don’t know how to phone pitch.

Sorry Media, PR Can Do Better
“Gross” That’s all the email from my editor friend had to say. And this one was a doozy. A new PR company was hawking their business model. “We have a new pricing structure. Its pay per placement. If we don't get publicity... you don't pay.” “We charge $900 per interview and these are national placements. Please choose 5 or 10 media placements you want.”

7 Tips to Survive and Thrive a Crazy Media Day
As a PR pro, you know the day you get a call from a reporter before 9 a.m., it’s going to be one of those days. One where your phone is ringing off the hook; your inbox is flooded more than usual; and when reporters who never email you, actually reach out. If you haven’t already experienced one of these PR milestones, you will. Whether it’s a company crisis, a breaking news event...

From Media to Marketing: How to Infiltrate the World of Content Marketing
From weird acronyms to brand speak, how can journalists and PR professionals make the move into content marketing? Making the move from the much-esteemed, if beleaguered, field of journalism to the rising maverick of content marketing seemed like an easy decision at the time.

What I Wish I'd Known Starting Out in PR
It’s graduation season: that time of year when many new PR pros are entering the world of work. When you’re new to public relations, you have a lot to learn. Here are some lessons that may not be taught in class but will help you as you navigate through your career. 1. Work hard to stand out. Did you know that the number of PR practitioners...

Are Cold Phone Pitches Ever OK?
Ask any journalist about their preferred channels for receiving pitches, and I can almost guarantee that "phone call" is at the very bottom of the list. It's not that we don't use our phones; we have no problem scheduling phone interviews, or taking a quick call to follow up on an email thread. But just about every reporter I know — myself included — silently (or not so silently) curses...

Lawyers, Artists, Programmers? Your Next Great Hire May Not Be a PR Professional
The quest for PR professionals is a never-ending task, particularly in an agency environment. As soon as the client team roster fills up, it seems another person leaves and Sisyphus must roll the rock back up the hill to find a replacement. And it is little wonder. As a recent study has highlighted, communications careers are booming.

Social Media Malpractice: Driving One Way on a Two-Way Street
Why are we born with two ears and one mouth? Because we should listen twice as much as we talk. This centuries-old saying could have been written as a call-to-action for today’s crowded social media world. The explosion of social media over the past decade has been nothing short of breathtaking.

Avoid Scott Disick's Instagram Snafu: Influencer Relations 101
Last week, Scott Disick, of Kardashian fame, gave the world a glimpse into "influencer marketing" when he copy and pasted an email from the Bootea marketing team into his sponsored Instagram caption telling him exactly what to write in his post. Yikes. This was definitely a mistake on Disick's part...

Public Relations Pet Peeves: IRL Examples from a Freelance Journalist
There are some brilliant public relations professionals, who are such a godsend to work with, that I take all the pins out of my PR voodoo doll, and lie her on a sun lounger with a watermelon martini. Then there are PR pros who inspire me to jam my voodoo doll’s head in the toilet, after an especially nasty poo. This is a memo to those PR professionals. There are minor misdemeanors of course, that fall somewhere in between. Watch out for the following offenses: Misspelling the name of your PR firm...

Insider Resources that Will Make You Better at PR
Ever feel like you don’t really get PR? Does the whole thing leave you feeling a little… dazed and confused? Even if you actually work in marketing, it’s easy to feel muddled. After all, there’s so much differing information around...

Boldness, Aspiration, and Vision: How Hip Hop Changed Communications
When Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest passed away, joining hip-hop pioneers Biggie Smalls and Adam "MCA" Yauch in the sky, my Twitter timeline lit up. There were commemorations, music and tributes reflecting the impact of this man’s life. #RIPPhife shot up the list of trending topics faster than the Midnight Marauders album in the fall of 1993.

Craft More Powerful Headlines: Get More Eyes On Your Content
Did you know that 80 percent of people read a headline while only 20 percent will read the rest of the article? Advertising legend David Ogilvy said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” So crafting a powerful headline is important. Especially in 2016 when so much of what we read is online. I was round at my mate William’s house for dinner last year.

Why Journalists Should Hire PR Pros in the Newsroom
When it comes to our two industries, what we hear fairly often is how journalists are moving into PR roles. The connection — and benefits to companies — is obvious: reporters are great writers, they understand the media landscape, and know how to tell a great story. But we rarely hear of a PR pro making a career switch...

7 Questions NOT to Ask a Reporter
As a PR pro who’s been at this a while, I can tell you it’s no secret that there are some things those in our profession do that completely turn reporters off. Yes, reporters can get cranky with us—but sometimes, if we’re honest with ourselves, we deserve it. While everyone makes mistakes, it’s always better if we can learn from the experience of others so that we might avoid...

Five Lessons from Sales on How to Dominate Public Relations
Sales teams and PR teams share a lot in common, right? You pitch stories. Sales teams make deals. It’s all selling. And it’s all about building better relationships with our customers, clients or influencers. So you might be interested to hear that high-performing sales teams are 3.5x more likely to use analytics—to improve those relationships—than underperforming teams. Which means the slickest, most highly productive teams are the ones...

The Equation for Understanding the Media in Today's World
It’s been over ten years since I actively worked in a newsroom. However, the memories are still very fresh. It was collaborative atmosphere that was rapidly changing, depending on the news event. However, it was essential that we had the vital information...

PR Measurement: You're (Probably) Doing It Wrong
If anyone tells you they’ve got the one true key to measuring PR, they’re either lying or they’re wrong. Countless services have popped up in the past few years that claim to have PR measurement all figured out. For the low, low price of $3k a month, an automated service will collect your coverage URLs and spit them back out with an assigned value attached. It’s easy! It’s simple! It’s cleanly designed!

A 'Fuller House': How Journalists and PR Pros Can Better Live Under the Same Roof
So this means I really am turning into Danny Tanner… In the morning, I teach a strategic communication writing class at a leading school of journalism. After lunch, I head back and teach a broadcast journalism writing class. I’ve been asked how I can ride both sides of the fence. Some are curious; others are skeptical. I’m a realist.

PR Pros: Stop Beating Yourselves Up
For any type A personality, it is very hard not to beat yourself up for even the smallest errors or failures. Sometimes I think it’s something we are programmed with, or at least implanted into our brains since we are little. We live in a society where failure is not an option. Well, maybe that’s a little too harsh. But remember high school? When you had lower grades or failed to deliver...


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