Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tips for Gaining National Coverage for Your Local Client

I love the opportunities that are afforded to the members of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA. One of those being the ability to attend the PRSA Luncheon program each month. The guests of the October installment of the PRSA luncheon were treated to a speaker who was both informative and extremely funny. We heard from Michele Krier, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Santikos Investments, Properties and Theatres, and Consultant for Creative Civilization. Michele Krier has worked in the PR field for 20 years, the last 10 focusing on national PR for a variety of clients including San Antonio companies Santikos Investments, Properties and Theatres and the Rivercenter Comedy Club.

Krier began by giving recognition to the many local PR professionals who have mentored her throughout her career. She gave a brief description of her professional background including how her successful pitches have resulted in getting news items published in many national newspapers and magazines, and on the national TV networks. Krier has worked with individuals ranging from movie stars, musicians, politicians, to Queen Elizabeth II.

Krier provided some important tips to gaining national exposure for the local clients of a firm. If a PR professional gains a national media contact it is important to nurture that relationship. A happy medium must be found, because it is not the goal, or job of the PR professional to be the contact’s best friend. Krier suggested that a follow up should be done no sooner than one week after a news item has been submitted. The reason for this is that some items are only placed on specific days.

Krier revealed some pet peeves of some of her national contacts. One being that before a PR professional submits a news item to a national contact they should determine whether the item will resonate on a national level or only locally. Along with this, the PR professional should research the medium they are sending the item to. What the medium covers, and what they have done in the last six months, and whether they have covered this type of item before. These questions will help determine if the item is right for the particular medium.

PR professionals should also know the deadlines of their contacts. Items pitched during deadlines are often ignored. With this, unless it is imperative that an item be immediately released due to time constraints, items should not be pitched on Mondays or Fridays for some obvious reasons.

When it came to submission preferences, Krier mentioned that a recent poll found that 50% of media contacts prefer to get items via e-mail. She did also mention that some contacts still prefer to receive items via fax. When e-mailing an item, using a strong headline in the subject line will catch the attention of the recipient causing them to open the e-mail. Pitches typically should not be made over the phone. If an item must be pitched over the phone, lead off with a strong headline. Catching the attention of the contact with the headline will help the PR professional, while not keeping a contact on the phone longer than necessary.

I walked away from this luncheon with some valuable information and having had quite a few laughs.

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