Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting Your PR Right

Some might think the title of this post will lead them to the ultimate tips for getting media attention. It's not. It's about getting the right attention in words that will not haunt you for hours, days or months after a release is published.

A real-world truth we need to remember is writers and editors at publications we send releases to will not (in almost every case) publish what we send in its original length. They will boil down what we submit to fit the space they have. No matter how eloquent our prose they (writers and editors) have to turn 30, 60, or 100 words into about 25. That's the way it is. The ONLY way it stays just as long or gets longer is if they decide it is "story" worthy; And they are going to write the story. Not us.

So my lesson, my reminder of this truth started last September when I transmitted a press release about my firm's involvement in a very worthy cause that we had joined behind several other firms here in Southern California. In the release it included our participation as one part of many.

This week.... THIS week a publication ran our release (edited of course) and in its (publication writer) edited version it read like we were responsible for what this group of firms had accomplished. NOT GOOD! Now we are dealing with alienated administrators and MP's of other firms around a truly good thing we had all done together. To give credit where due; We didn't lead this group, we followed.

The short fix was to get the publication to issue a correction in the next print. Done. And some phone calls to bruised parties with apologies and telling them how we are correcting the goof in print. Done.

The long fix is to start reading my releases as edited shorts. I even have a reporter friend that I have enlisted (at no-charge thank you) to read my releases in the eyes of an editor. How would an editor take the release apart? What would they use and what would disappear?

When we craft our releases we like to shave the fine line of spin to represent the best messages... That line dissolves in the hands of a writer tasked with creating a 30 word block when we've submitted 120.

Lesson; My releases just got shorter and tighter. You?