It wasn’t that long ago (ok, 15 or so years) since I was sitting in a university classroom learning the ins and outs of public relations from my professors.
One of our first lessons involved the art of the press releases. After agonizing over the headline, lede, and quotes sprinkled throughout, we moved onto the actual release of the information. The solution was quite simple: just drop it in the mail, or if you’re feeling particularly technologically savvy, send it via email.
Once we went into the real world however, we realized that it wasn’t really that straightforward, because there was the matter of finding the right contact to begin with, and researching media outlets to within an inch of their life. And don’t even get me started on the endless post-release follow up.
Fast forward to 2015 and we’re surrounded by just about every bell and whistle available to help make publication relations that much more manageable and integrated into our day-to-day activities.
So what are some of the favorite PR tools we love these days?
Two Bright Lights
If you are submitting your events to wedding blogs and publications, then Two Bright Lights is your virtual knight in shining armor. For a nominal yearly fee, you can upload images from any event (with permission from your photographer of course), and begin submitting to the blogs and magazines of your choosing. Many editors prefer this manner of submission and TBL simplifies things further by keeping you abreast of the progress- noting if the editor has reviewed it, if they’ve passed on it or have accepted it for a feature.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Heralded by many in the industry as one of the most innovative PR offerings of its time, HARO connects journalists with experts. The offering stems from the idea that everyone is an expert at something. Simply sign up for a free account, and each weekday, you’ll receive three emails throughout the day that list media outlets in need of resources for their stories. Think you fit the bill? Simply reach out via the email provided and pitch yourself.
Twitter is still our go-to for connecting with the media, most of which regularly use Twitter to communicate with their audience. Remember that media wish list we talked about? Well now is the time to start looking up each and every one of them on Twitter to add them to a private media list. Make a point to check on the list regularly to see if any are in need of particular sources for an upcoming article. It’s one of the best ways to stay connected and abreast of editorial needs.
Are you starting to build a media list but can’t figure out the best way to stay organized? Consider Buzzstream, which has simplified the process for gathering the necessary information for pitching top editors.
In this day in age, there is a wealth of PR resources available to you for little to no cost. By implementing some of our favorite PR tools, you’ll be well on your way to an impressive press portfolio.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a Public Relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in PW writing and brand promotion.