THE ABILITY to effectively build relationships and communicate with the media is a valuable skill that every organization must develop and understand to be able to wield it effectively. The media can be an important ally to help inform the public of your unique products or services, your events and activities, as well as your advocacies and campaigns—basically anything that might help you stand out from the crowd.
However, even though the media might be a reasonably accessible resource for all, some people might not be able to properly direct their efforts to take full advantage of the reach to bring their desired messages out to a wider audience.
We asked Pennie Azarcon-dela Cruz, senior desk editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and former executive editor of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, some questions on how companies can relate and work with media, and here are some of tips that she shared:
DO connect with the appropriate audience.
Avoid making the common mistake of ignoring your target audience. You should be able to tailor your announcement to the audience you’d like to reach by choosing the right format, publication and section that caters specifically to it. Do some research before sending out a one-size fits-all release to make sure that your materials are appreciated by their intended audience.
DO submit your piece complete and ready to print.
There is no absolute guarantee that your materials will be published, but one great and easy way to increase the chances of the announcement getting used is to make sure that it’s publication-ready: Submit it well before the deadline of the particular section or publication you are targeting, keep it short and accurate, and of course, grammatically impeccable so that very minimal editing would be needed.
DO NOT oversell your event, company or product.
This is a definite no-no. “Love your own” is a great corporate morale booster, but when it comes to press releases, tone down the rah-rah factor—it makes your write-up sound like an advertorial or even blatant self-promotion.
Always remember that a press release is supposed to be a simple announcement of a new product or service, an event or a significant achievement that you’d like the public to take an interest in. Present the facts briefly and accurately, and let them speak for themselves.
DO NOT get discouraged, even if you are “just” an SME.
It always helps to create a buzz that the media can’t ignore, which is really how a lot of SMEs get their big break. The best way to do this is to come up with goods and services that have a truly unique selling point—something new, novel and newsworthy.
If you’re confident enough about what you’re offering, you can have a small media launch that would showcase the distinct qualities of your product, which the media can then report on or write about.
At the same time, you can also use this launch to solicit comments and suggestions on how to further improve your product before bringing it to market.
Pennie has been writing for popular media for the past 30 years and has handled writing seminars and workshops for at least 20 years. She has a National Book Award for Anthology as well as a Quill Award for travel writing.
She will be running a workshop entitled “Effective Corporate Communications-Building Relationships with Media” on May 19 at the Inquirer Academy. The program will focus on writing effective press releases and planning press conferences, and would be ideal for entrepreneurs, PR practitioners, as well as communications and marketing professionals.
The Inquirer Academy is located at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about this or any future programs, you may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call (632) 834-1557 and look for Deck Salas, or visit the website at www.inquireracademy.com.