How to do Public Relations (PR) to help with Reputation Management

Reach Out to the Media

Traditional publications cannot be ignored even in an age where people are increasingly getting their information online. If anything, it’s more important than it was a few years ago with the convergence of traditional media and internet media. One thing that has happened is that traditional media has been partially absorbed by the internet and by social media, so that now people can look up CNN, ABC, and popular newspapers online. Though their influence is not as strong as it was in the pre-digital era, those publications are still read by many people (and their headlines read by even more), so they have a tremendous effect on how people perceive your company and on your company’s reputation.

The mainstream media is especially useful for framing PR mishaps. Compared to online search results, a lot more people who don’t read the article see the headlines in print media than in online media. Even online traditional sources, such as the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, often rank well on search engines, so people see the headline and a few sentences from the article when they do a search for your company name or another relevant keyword.

Traditional PR Is Not Easy

In the pre-social media and pre-email days, journalists got lots of phone calls, and answering them was annoying when most of them were random article pitches from people they did not know. They developed an attitude that their time was so important, that they would only listen to articles pitched by people they knew. It didn’t matter if they burned bridges or slighted the wrong person by not simply replying with a generic “No thank you, I don’t think that story’s a good fit” message. They were very busy so they did not take the time to do it.

As a result, they have carried over these communication skills to modern media, and their connections have withered or become worth much less than before. If somebody asks you for a favor months ago and you don’t even reply, don’t expect him or her to be ready to help you out when you are in need. On the other hand, online writers usually have more time and have developed more modern PR skills. They usually do not respond to pitches they do not like, but they, unlike many print journalists, can give you a more definite early time frame for when your article will be published.

They are also more used to receiving full articles instead of just press releases, so it’s less work for them to copy and paste your article than it is for the traditional journalist to read your press release, research it, and then produce good copy. Furthermore, search engines favor websites with lots of content that is added at least a few times a week so the online journalist needs more content than the traditional one who might be paid to only write a few articles for the local paper. This means that the online journalist can accept articles that do a better job at improving your reputation than the traditional journalist.

The more expensive way of doing it would be to hire a PR firm, who usually charge a minimum monthly fee starting at $5000. However, some ORM and SEO firms may also be able to help with PR and may have relationships with some publications, blogs or writers.  So is the case with my company.