20 things every PR pro should know how to do

20 things every PR pro should know how to do


Do you have one foot on the PR banana peel?

If you’re like me, part of you is in “the old world” of PR and the other foot is sliding into the new digital landscape: excited, nervous, learning, kicking, and screaming.

Despite the changes in the industry, PR pros must remember the basics.

The following 20 items and links will serve as reminders and resources.

1. Grab a reporter or blogger’s attention with your words. Words wield power. Choose them carefully. Be relevant.

2. Email a three-line pitch. Target your pitches, and understand what each reporter is looking for. Sum up how your pitch/story will benefit his or her audience.

3. Use social media monitoring tools. Make use of Google Alerts, trending topics, and other tools to keep an eye on hot issues, competition, and your own name.

4. Pitch, arrange, and attend an interview for a client. Know the process from beginning to end. Hold your client’s hand as you prepare them for an interview you’ve arranged. Be there for them when they need you. Equally as important: Know when to step back and simply listen.

5. Stand up to a client or reporter in a firm yet polite way. Like your clients or managers, journalists can be testy, abrupt, and downright rude.

6. Generate valuable content on a regular basis. Identify trends and lessons that can benefit others. Be a constant source of solid information that people trust and respect.

7. Coach your clients or executives on interview techniques. Prep them prior to interviews so they feel comfortable with being on camera or using a microphone.

8. Train top management in crisis communications. Have in place a complete and current written plan that includes training.

9. Use a Flip cam. It’s important to know how to record a short interview or breaking news story, but it’s essential to grasp how technology helps you disseminate it to the masses. Think Twitter. News breaks there first. Know some basic video editing, too.

10. Ask good questions. Quality questions bring you quality information. Get people thinking, feeling, and reacting.

11. Collaborate with others. Don’t view people in ancillary departments like marketing, advertising, branding, and HR as the enemy. Go for integration, not silos.

12. Use traditional and social media press releases. I don’t see press releases going out of style anytime soon. Do you?

13. Use keywords, links, and SEO to give your press releases legs. Do your homework on keywords and search engine rankings. It might make or break your website and blog—and maybe even your business.

14. Decipher analytics. Understand measurement tools and what they mean to your overall strategy and daily activities (tactics).

15. Listen to a speech, podcast, webinar, or press conference. Be able to pull out three sound bites from a five-minute presentation or 30-minute rant. This one skill alone will benefit you in public speaking, sales, business, and networking. Summarizing something complex with a punchy quote that brings out the essence of a conversation is priceless these days.

16. Repurpose content. Reformatting and tweaking a press release, article, interview, or blog post will save you lots of time and energy.

17. Build an online newsroom. Learn the elements of a quality online newsroom so journalists, bloggers, and others can trust you as a credible, engaging resource that has current information.

18. Create the subject line of an email pitch in fewer than eight words. Clarity rules.

19. Follow chats, forums, and lists to build relationships with reporters and bloggers. It’s good to watch, hover, and observe online to learn personalities and styles before jumping in. Weave your way into a conversation without a pitch. That will come down the road.

20. Write and upload a blog post. Be sure you can do this from beginning to end in less than 30 minutes. That means without the help of tech support.



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