THE VALUE OF PLANNING AHEAD
Right now, weeks before your big announcement, you are in a position of power. This is a major opportunity to take your story into your own hands. This PR Manual is designed to help optimize the way you share your work with journalists in advance.
Why in advance?
Because that is precisely the moment when there is the most in it for both you and the reporter.
From your perspective, it gives you a great opportunity to take a step back and decide what story you want to tell, and who you want to tell it to.
From the reporter’s perspective, pitching them when you’re about to announce something new makes your pitch topical and urgent — so they’ll be more likely to read it, reply and maybe even say yes.
The more time you can give yourself to prepare and execute your press outreach, the better — and whatever time you do have, this manual will help you make the most of it.
Doing effective press outreach starts with creating a strategy and defining your goals: once you know your goals, everything else will follow - from identifying which journalists to contact and what to offer them to how to introduce yourself and brief them on what you’re announcing.
Give yourself a solid 45 minutes to sit down and come up with clear, specific answers to all of these questions. (You’ll need them in the chapters that follow!)
1. Clear Goal. What are you trying to accomplish overall with this upcoming announcement? (e.g., get users, raise money, be seen as a leader in your field)
2. Well-Defined Audience. ho exactly are you addressing with this work? Be specific (e.g., investors, curators, part of the scientific community).
3. Call to Action for Audience. What do you want your target audience to do after reading about you or learning about your work? (e.g., contribute to your Kickstarter, donate to the cause you’re part of, come to your exhibit)
4. Relevance. hy is this relevant beyond just this one story? What’s the larger/broader significance?
5. Credibility. hy should the reporter trust you? What makes you legit?
6. Access. hat can you give the reporter that is rare or hard to get? (e.g., specialist expertise in a timely subject, a first look at the latest research in X, a preview of your trailer, an exclusive tour of your exhibit)
7. Clear Ask for Reporter. What do you want the reporter to do and when? (e.g., interview you, come to an event, write about your launch)
8. Organized Briefing Materials. What is the fastest way to help a reporter tell the story accurately? A press release? A phone call? A demo? Attending a performance or event?
9. Compelling Visuals. Is there a photo or video that can help tell the story quickly and compellingly (to both the reporter and their readers)?
10. Expiration Date. Why should the reporter write this story NOW (or at a certain point in time) versus two months from now?