The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom by Brian Johnson

A great little read (well around 200 pages) for those interested in some wise tips from a media specialist with experience on both the-little-red-book-of-pr-wisdomsides of the fence.

If I was being superbly picky then I would add that it really delves into media relations rather than PR – which in my humble opinion is wider than media relations and might include stakeholder work, advocacy, lobbying etc.

Regardless of your definition of PR, there’s plenty of useful practical tips to implement into your media relations work.

Here’s eight of my favourite tips from the Little Red Book of PR Wisdom

(headings = my words, quotes = directly from book)

1. How to think about yourself (e.g. not a hack)
“Whether you’re doing PR full-time, or helping out now and then, start viewing yourself as a private news agency. One that identifies, pursues and frames stories over here, and matches them to the relevant media types over there. No hype. No spin. Just quality editorial to benefit both sides.”

2. How journalism doesn’t work = it’s not like Lois Lane 
“Journalists and presenters still love the exclusivity of a “scoop”. But the image of reporters roaming around town, attending news conferences, or staking out a person of interest while wearing a pork-pie hat with a PRESS card is, well, a little old-fashioned.”

3. Look out for events and trends to newsjack (term from David Meerman- Scott)
“It’s easier to catch a wave than create one – so switch your news radar on.”

4. If you want to use a survey to create the news – look out for size 
“You generally need at least 500 respondents and preferably more than 1000 to be taken seriously. (But remember a survey is only as good as its questions/findings).”

5. When to use the plug 
“As a general rule of writing media releases, don’t plug yourself until the second paragraph.”

6. Don’t ring to check the media release arrived
“There is nothing worse for a stressed-out journo, in a crocodile death roll with a deadline, than picking up the phone to hear Felicity from Publicity asking robo-inane questions: “Oh, hi. Did you get the media release I just sent? Are you going to use it?” Adorable. Especially when they come at you one after another.” 

7. When to hold a news conference, and when to not.
“You should only call a news conference if you are a genuine headline story, and you know the media will attend. In which case it definitely is the best way to crank up the news machine in one concentrated hit. If not, forget all about it.”

8. How to negotiate between different outlets
“Start with the outlet you’d prefer to carry the story. Give them a polite deadline: I’m giving you first crack at this but need to know if you want it by noon tomorrow. Otherwise I’ll have to spruik it elsewhere.”

Want to read it? Over here yo. 

Happy reading,

C x

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