The Insider’s Secrets to Getting Press

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Feb 7, 2009 in Books, journalism, Marketing, Public Relations

Last December I read an interesting book called “The Confessions of an Ink-Stained Wretch: The Insider’s Secrets to Getting Press,” by John Persinos.

Persinos offers witty advice for public relations and marketing professionals. He includes information on:

  • Writing good press releases and marketing pieces
  • Holding press conferences and events
  • Handling media interviews
  • Working with the integration news including web, print and cable
  • Getting messages to bloggers, podcasters and others in new media
  • Influencing politics
  • Future of the press

His book is easy to read because of the many lists. It’s something you could easily have read in a week’s time.

I really thought this was a great book for a young PR professional and I would suggest checking it out if you want to be better able to work with the press.

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8 Tips to Finding Good Stories for the Media

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Dec 13, 2008 in Books, journalism, Public Relations, Story Pitching, Writing

Earlier this week I was at the library looking for some books on advertising for a final paper. I came across The Confessions of an Ink-Stained Wretch by John Persinos.

The book intrigued me. Although I have a good amount of writing experience, I don’t have a lot of story pitching experience. I’ve heard a lot of my peers say that we don’t get enough experience in this area, therefore I felt it would be a good idea to read this book.

With the recent cuts in journalism jobs, I think PR will be very important. With less staff on hand at publications, the remaining journalists will need quality press releases and sources to make their jobs easier.

I would like to take note of a few good tips Persinos offered on thinking like the media. Although his tips were mostly about money, some of them can be applied to general stories as well.

8 Tips to Finding Good Stories for the Media

1. Money matters. Have you ever heard of the term “CREAM?” It means, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” If there is a lot of money to be lost or gained, then you’ve got a story.

2. Localize, localize, localize. Things tend to be more important when it affects the local people. CNN has had a lot of coverage on the automaker bailout recently, but it’s much more compelling to me when they relate it to how it will affect the people I grew up with.

3. Remember your audience. Don’t use financial jargon that only bankers understand. Most of your readers, unless you write for the Wall Street Journal, aren’t going to get it. Write the story so they can understand it.

4. Check your work. Remember hearing that in fifth-grade math? It still applies. Make sure you got the numbers right.

5. Tell what’s really going on. So, there might not be an automaker bailout, right? GM goes bankrupt. That’s about money. But what’s the real story? How about the story about the man who won’t have a job to support his five kids?

6. People love rags-to-riches stories, especially when they are localized. Tell the media about how your client was homeless and on the streets before he became a billionaire (well, only if that is true).

7. Use money language that people can relate to. They will relate better to “gas prices denting their wallets,” rather than “oil prices continue to rise.”

8. Namedrop when you can. People know brand names. If you say, “Teflon accused of…” people will pay attention more than if you said, “Some companies that manufacture cooking utensils…”

You can go to Persinos Web site, Ink-Stained Confessions, to get a copy of the first chapter or to download his podcast. I will write a full review of the book once I am done.

Related Posts:

Alternative Story Forms

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Crossing Borders Through Communication: Global PR

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Oct 29, 2008 in Global Communication, National Conference, PRSSA, Public Relations, Social Media

2008 PRSSA National Conference – Detroit

Crossing Borders Through Communication: Global PR
Janet Tabor, Senior Vice President, Weber Shandwick Worldwide

With six billion people and more than 6500 different languages, global campaigns are very complex, according to Janet Tabor, senior vice president of Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

Tabor offered the following advice on global communication at the PRSSA National Conference:

  • Know your audience. Understand cultures and backgrounds are essential to a successful campaign.
  • The key to a successful campaign is having people on the ground in the location of the campaign who understand the mindset of the people, the market and know where people get their information from.
  • Campaigns must be tailored to apply to specific audiences.
  • Digital media has become very important¬† because of the consumer’s lifestyle–it is where people are getting their information from. Therefore, companies need to expand to reach social media to have a dialogue and build relationships with their customers. They need to be engaging.
  • It’s about relationships, not transactions. It’s about listening, enabling discussions and communication back. Social media works best for listening, not selling.
  • Brand monitoring is important. You need to know what is being said. This will help you identify potential issues quickly before they become a crisis.
  • Advocacy has become the most powerful source of influence and communication.
  • Fan sites, watch blogs and detractor sites shape brands and affect reputations.
  • You need to be working across traditional media, niche media and social media, monitoring and acting in online conversations and exploring new communication platforms.
  • Remember the media is now multimedia. For example, Business Week now has a blog, debate area, podcast center and much more.

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