20 things every PR pro should know how to do

Many of the skills are timeless, and others are new enough to make you anxious. Don’t worry; this post includes links to resources. Yep, you’ll want to bookmark it.

Do you have one foot on the PR banana peel?

If you’re like me, part of you is in “the old world” of PR and the other foot is sliding into the new digital landscape: excited, nervous, learning, kicking, and screaming.

Despite the changes in the industry, PR pros must remember the basics.

The following 20 items and links will serve as reminders and resources.

1. Grab a reporter or blogger’s attention with your words. Words wield power. Choose them carefully. Be relevant.

How to pitch Mashable
3 tips to pitching your story to The Wall Street Journal
How to effectively communicate with the media

2. Email a three-line pitch. Target your pitches, and understand what each reporter is looking for. Sum up how your pitch/story will benefit his or her audience.

Think like a reporter
6 tips for perfect email pitches
Email pitches cheat sheet

3. Use social media monitoring tools. Make use of Google Alerts, trending topics, and other tools to keep an eye on hot issues, competition, and your own name.

5 social media measurement tools for PR pros
How Google’s SEO algorithm is changing the web

4. Pitch, arrange, and attend an interview for a client. Know the process from beginning to end. Hold your client’s hand as you prepare them for an interview you’ve arranged. Be there for them when they need you. Equally as important: Know when to step back and simply listen.

Teaching the PR pros of tomorrow

5. Stand up to a client or reporter in a firm yet polite way. Like your clients or managers, journalists can be testy, abrupt, and downright rude.

• The most annoying habits of PR people
The grumpy old reporter

6. Generate valuable content on a regular basis. Identify trends and lessons that can benefit others. Be a constant source of solid information that people trust and respect.

Social business vs. social marketing: Understanding the fight over content
The influencer and the Give factor
7 ways to fuel your writing

7. Coach your clients or executives on interview techniques. Prep them prior to interviews so they feel comfortable with being on camera or using a microphone.

10 ways to feel comfortable on camera
Everything is on-the-record
How to do a better phone interview

8. Train top management in crisis communications. Have in place a complete and current written plan that includes training.

Preparing and executing a crisis communications plan
4 steps for effective crisis communications

9. Use a Flip cam. It’s important to know how to record a short interview or breaking news story, but it’s essential to grasp how technology helps you disseminate it to the masses. Think Twitter. News breaks there first. Know some basic video editing, too.

How news spreads online
5 insights on citizen journalism
How to record and edit video for PR

10. Ask good questions. Quality questions bring you quality information. Get people thinking, feeling, and reacting.

7 questions PR pros should ask before emailing a pitch
A PR pro’s secret weapon: Asking smart questions

11. Collaborate with others. Don’t view people in ancillary departments like marketing, advertising, branding, and HR as the enemy. Go for integration, not silos.

Tear down those silos!
The necessity of integrated media planning

12. Use traditional and social media press releases. I don’t see press releases going out of style anytime soon. Do you?

7 unglamorous steps to better writing
How to write a great press release
SEO for press releases

13. Use keywords, links, and SEO to give your press releases legs. Do your homework on keywords and search engine rankings. It might make or break your website and blog—and maybe even your business.

The most common SEO mistake in PR and how to fix it
Press release optimization for search engines
Key components of a social media news release

14. Decipher analytics. Understand measurement tools and what they mean to your overall strategy and daily activities (tactics).

The Evolution of Media Measurement
How to use Google Analytics
10 points to understand before beginning a measurement program

15. Listen to a speech, podcast, webinar, or press conference. Be able to pull out three sound bites from a five-minute presentation or 30-minute rant. This one skill alone will benefit you in public speaking, sales, business, and networking. Summarizing something complex with a punchy quote that brings out the essence of a conversation is priceless these days.

How to pick a sound bite for a TV news story
Mastering the 9 second sound bite
How to use quotes in a news article

16. Repurpose content. Reformatting and tweaking a press release, article, interview, or blog post will save you lots of time and energy.

5 ways to recycle older content
11 ways to repurpose your content

17. Build an online newsroom. Learn the elements of a quality online newsroom so journalists, bloggers, and others can trust you as a credible, engaging resource that has current information.

10 ways to create an online newsroom
9 ways to transform your website into a social media hub

18. Create the subject line of an email pitch in fewer than eight words. Clarity rules.

Anatomy of a successful email pitch

19. Follow chats, forums, and lists to build relationships with reporters and bloggers.
It’s good to watch, hover, and observe online to learn personalities and styles before jumping in. Weave your way into a conversation without a pitch. That will come down the road.

Passion + Community = Success
How to create targeted media lists and build relationships

20. Write and upload a blog post.
Be sure you can do this from beginning to end in less than 30 minutes. That means without the help of tech support.

Best practices for writing and posting
WordPress for beginners

A version of this post first appeared on the blog Get in Front Communications.


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