As an established technology public relations company, what we do at Red Ribbon Communications is simultaneously very simple, and fairly complex. We connect brands with audiences. The golden tread that ties together everything we do is trust. Our brands trust us with their reputation, and the journalists we connect with depend on us to provide them with authentic, reliable content.
Our time as technology media relations specialists has taught us quite a bit about navigating the unpredictable territory of the content marketing sphere. In this article, we give you a run-down of what you should and shouldn’t do.
Good practices to follow in technology public relations
Below are tips that you should always keep in mind. They can significantly improve your PR efforts.
DO know your journalists before you pitch
When you just start out as a PR professional it can be tempting to pitch your story ideas to every single journalist you encounter. However, this tactic is seldom effective, mainly because you can harm the reputation of your client and employer if you spam every journo on your contact list regardless of the type of news they normally cover. Rather take the time to research your journalists and form an idea of the type of content that pertains to their platform, so you can pitch targeted story ideas that they are likely to accept. Once you’ve built that relationship, they will be far more likely to open your emails in future.
DO maintain a professional distance
Always be professional and courteous, rather than overly personal, in your communication with the media. Unless you’ve been friends for years, you need to establish yourself as a professional in their eyes before you allow the relationship to progress naturally. Rushing things and becoming too chummy early on will hamper your efforts rather than help it.
DO give your journalists breathing room
It is not acceptable to ask a journalist to see an article before it is published. Your client might expect it from you, but it is your job to explain that it will infuriate a journalist and permanently harm a relationship. You are basically saying that they can’t do their job properly.
DO proofread your pitch (multiple times!)
Make sure your pitch is brief and typo-free, or consider running it by a colleague if you’re unsure. Like it or not, maintaining a good relationship with journalists is one of the most critical parts of your job. Clients often come and go, but your relationship with the media is what keeps the engine running. Trust is hard to gain but easy to lose.
Practices to avoid in technology public relations
Ensure that you don’t include the below practices in your PR efforts. They will prove unsuccessful at best, and might cause lasting damage at worst.
DON’T force journalists to commit to coverage
One of the quickest ways to sour a relationship with a media professional is to paint them into a corner where coverage is concerned. Keep the lines of communication open and offer them whatever they need to get a potential article written and published. But, don’t push them to commit to something they can’t necessarily do of their own accord.
DON’T waste a journalist’s time
If you know that an article is due to be published, monitor the media yourself or go out and buy a copy of the magazine. Don’t request the link or send multiple emails to check up. Journalists receive countless emails every day. It’s hard for them to stick to their deadlines when they are interrupted constantly.
Young PR professionals are often so excited at the prospect of media coverage that they can be a bit effusive when it comes to thanking the journalist. Always remember that they aren’t doing you a favour. You have provided them with reliable content and they were able to craft it into a compelling article. The correct replay to a published piece is something along the lines of the following. ‘I am glad the information resulted in a quality piece and I will be happy to offer you my assistance in future’.
Following these guidelines will lay the groundwork for a rewarding career in technology public relations. Follow our blog for more insight into technology public relations, and to find out more about this fascinating industry.