Live from ACC: Using Effective PR to Boost Your Brand

In an informative early-morning session at The DMA and Multichannel Merchant magazine’s 22nd Annual Catalog Conference in Orlando, FL, Lisa C. Hahn, president of Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc., led a discussion on successful PR efforts in her presentation titled, “How To Get the Media To Notice Your Brand With Public Relations Techniques.”

Hahn began by identifying exactly what “public relations” is, and noted that it consists of “Two-way communications, awareness building, motivation, and influence.”

She also pointed out that in order for a press release to be effective, it must contain some item of interest for the media people receiving it. These items can include:
  • Impact. How many people are affected?
  • Proximity. What is the closeness between the event and the audience?
  • Timeliness. If it’s not fresh, what’s the point?
  • Prominence. Recognizability carries more weight.
  • Novelty. Offbeat items always garner fast attention.
Hahn noted that there is always news in your company that many media outlets might be interested in. But she emphasized that it’s up to the company to uncover that news and present it in a timely fashion.

Five news topics that always get covered include employee recognition, company awards, charity or community involvement, company events, and grand openings, she said.

But Hahn also cautioned that even the best-intentioned press releases can be discarded quickly if they fall short of expectations. Some reasons the media reject news releases include those that are poorly written, offer no news value, have no local interest, offer too much fluff, or run too long.

“PR professionals distribute more than 1.5 million news releases every week,” Hahn said, “so make sure yours suits your target audience.”

Still, she was encouraged that there is a place in the media world for news releases because “media outlets don’t have the staff to fill all their story needs and space without PR pointing them out.” She added that press releases are sometimes “the best way to bring story ideas to reporters’ attention.”

Hahn wrapped up her presentation by offering some media relations tips. These include:
  • Don’t be intimidated by aggressive reporter questioning;
  • Be prepared for the worst possible questions;
  • The purpose of being interviewed is not to answer questions, but to get your message across;
  • Defend your company if you’re on solid ground
  • Always have alternative story angles to pitch.
The Annual Catalog Conference closes this afternoon.
© Direct Marketing Association

You are invited to contact Lisa Hahn, president, Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc. on our website or by phone at 201-251-7778

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