1.11 Public relations: the sensational rim on the wheel

Public relations: the sensational rim on the wheel

Public relations are the activities one engages in to generate excitement about your new venture so that editorial coverage will occur. Editorial coverage is thought to be much more valuable then advertising in media because people perceive editorial coverage as authentic and of interest. Startups need to generate a great deal of excitement known as “buzz” in order to make the case for media coverage. Because entrepreneurs normally don’t have much if any marketing budgets to initially launch his or her new venture, relying on public relations coverage becomes essential for the success of a new venture.

In order to increase your chances for coverage of the new venture you will want to make sure that communications with the media include information about your new venture that is written in what is known as a “tight” manner including, if possible, the following attributes:

  • concise/brief summary
  • straight-forward
  • timely and quite current
  • a first of its kind if possible
  • attention-grabbing
  • authentic and truthful
  • tying-in if possible with an emerging trend
  • remarkable
  • and absolutely accurate

The public relations practitioner’s tool kit

Press releases: Newsworthy text regarding the “Who, What, Where, and When” of the story you are pitching to the media.

Video News Releases (VNRs): Usually responsible for coordinating the video production of news announcements known as VNRs which are sent to television/broadcasting stations with the intention of gaining news coverage

Newswire services: The Public Relations practitioner works with a company known as a newswire service to disseminate news announcements to targeted media. One example is CSRwire service found at: http://www.csrwire.com which specializes in disseminating news releases from corporate socially responsible companies often engaged in many CSR pursuits. 1

News agencies: The public relations practitioner is in direct contact with news services that cover large batches of news happenings in specific regions. MEMERCOPRESS is an example of a news agency. According to this news agency’s website, “MERCOPRESS is a news agency concentrating on Mercosur countries which operates from Montevideo, Uruguay and includes in its area of influence the South Atlantic and insular territories.”2 For more information on MERCOPRESS visit: http://www.mercopress.com/about.do.

Media databases: Contain detailed information on how to reach media contacts. The more expansive and current the media database, the more likely you are to achieve optimum press coverage in targeted publications.

Style guides: Provide guidelines on the proper formatting of information to include when quoting from another source and attributing in a citation the quoted source.

Extensive Rolodex: Public relations practitioners are major networkers with vast contacts with the media as well as key stakeholders.

Timelines: Successful public relations practitioners are known for keeping long timelines of checklists to make sure events and campaigns are carried out flawlessly in order to achieve the maximum amount of effective media coverage

Archives: The public relations practitioner usually is the one to maintain the press clipping files documenting media coverage as well as the video and image files. Images are sometimes used by the media so keeping well-organized archive files is essential to any marketing campaign.

Because public relations professionals are dedicated to the tasks surrounding disseminating, documenting and archiving news coverage, these practitioners are usually a great resource to any startup.



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