Skillshop Recap: Public Relations 101

by Andrew Bevevino

“So what exactly do you do?” That’s a question that a lot of PR people get. PR is multifaceted to say the least, so it’s tough to put your finger on.

But, if you had to describe it, what would you say? Luckily, Martin Davison Public Relations employee Kelsey Hanks and I recently hosted Skillshop: Public Relations 101 at The Martin Group offices to discuss what PR encompasses.

What do PR people actually do?

There are many PR practices, so it’s difficult to come up with a one sentence definition. However, we spoke briefly about several areas that PR practitioners work within on a regular basis.

  • Advocacy: If an organization needs help gaining community and/or influencer support for a certain initiative, PR people can help craft the messaging around that cause or initiative by writing speeches and talking points, organizing forums or community meetings, placing stories with the media or administering media training.
  • Content marketing: When we talk about content marketing, we’re referencing blogs, podcasts, infographics or other content-based pieces of communications. This content has some sort of value for consumers (i.e. education or entertainment), and PR people help create that content and the strategies for promoting it.
  • Internal communications: Internal PR is useful for keeping employees satisfied and informed. A good example of internal PR is a company newsletter detailing notable employee news and company updates and accomplishments. PR people are often tasked with keeping tabs on company news and creating internal promotional materials.
  • Crisis management: When something happens that could damage a company’s reputation, its often the job of PR practitioners to minimize or eliminate that damage. Doing so requires careful crafting of a strategic message that is relayed through press conferences, media relations and various other PR tactics.
  • Social media: You can use social media to accomplish many of the same goals that accomplish with more traditional PR. You can use social to promote content you create internally or for clients (i.e. blogs, podcasts), or you can spread positive buzz through the various social media channels and tools.
  • Media relations: Media relations = getting your clients in the news. This is what a lot of people think about when they reference PR. If you’re pitching stories about your clients to reporters or bloggers, you’re practicing media relations.

These are just a few areas within PR that we discussed during the workshop. There are many more, and their applications vary depending on the situation.

What is newsworthy/pitching basics

We took a bit of a deeper dive into media relations and discussed what makes a story newsworthy as well as some basics for media pitching.

There are several aspects of a story that make it newsworthy. Human interest, awards, product launches, major accomplishments and original content are all good examples of characteristics that might catch a reporter’s eye.

But, when pitching a story to the media, you always have to make sure you have a good angle. The angle is the story’s point of relevance or uniqueness. Without a good angle, your story will be glanced over. During the workshop, we outlined strategies to finding a good hook, as well as some basic steps to reaching out to the news media.

10 ways to promote your brand or event

If you’re having a big event or launching a new product, you’ll definitely want some PR to spread the word. We talked about ways to promote your event or product using PR, and I’d lay those out for you now, but I’m sure you’d rather just look at this artsy infographic that details PR activations for those occasions.

We talked about a few other subjects during our presentation at The Martin Group, but these are some of the broader points we spent a little more time on. All in all, we had some solid conversation about PR basics that the attendees seemed to find interesting based on the feedback I received.

Thanks to all who came! We really enjoyed giving the presentation, and we hope to see you at more AAF Buffalo events in the future.