The following are some rules from Torossian’s PR book “For Immediate Release.”
Get to know reporters. Offer to buy lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. Give out your number. Get to know them and it will pay off. you will be called not only as a source but also as a background resource. you can offer exclusives, speak comfortably off the record, and receive helpful information.
- Be a giver, not a taker. Share information strategically and offer journalists tips but don’t demand favors.
- Tell the truth and do so with clarity, sincerity, and passion.
- Don’t expect the media to love you. They can write something bad. be prepared for it.
- PR doesn’t mean spilling all the beans. Learn how and when to keep secrets, and when you shouldn’t be talking to the media. Information is power.
- Protect yourself. If you wouldn’t talk to the cops without a lawyer, why would you talk to the media without your PR representative? In a crisis, have a good crisis and media attorney and PR person at your disposal.
- Under-promise and over-deliver: consistently exceeding expectations builds loyalty and great word-of-mouth PR. If you disappoint people, you’re in for a long, rough ride. Without credibility there can be little trust, and bad feelings will be made public.
- Make sure all messages are aligned with your brand. Don’t say one thing to customers and get caught doing something else. every time you decide to try a new campaign, make sure it holds up to your overall strategy. Consistency wins trust.
- Lead by example. Stay connected with your employees and don’t ask or expect them to do something you wouldn’t do. They are your on-the-ground PR force.
- Allow everything about your brand to reflect your brand. your offices, appearance, and demeanor should reflect the spirit of your brand messaging.
- Share what you know. Stay informed and constantly build knowledge of your industry so your insights, wisdom, and ideas are fresh. People will want to hear what you have to say; that’s how you become a thought leader.
- Hire people who represent your company and your spirit. It’s often said a company’s culture is determined by its CEO, but it’s also shaped by its receptionist. Realize your brand is cultivated by your employees and the PR they put forward.
- Handle documents with care. In today’s world, anyone can be a source, and not just because of citizen journalism. Many tabloid papers give and trade favors with PR people. While at a private club one day, I was amazed to find confidential materials left behind by an attorney. With no interest in the case, I sent them to a media contact. For three days in a row it was a media banner story. That writer repaid the favor many times over via soft stories for clients in that publication.
- Let your customers speak. Some of the best content is user or customer generated because it becomes a conversation. When customers feel they are part of the dialogue with a brand, they feel more attached to it. and that attachment can help your PR message spread.
- Never underestimate the personal PR power of happiness and speaking positively. Smile when you meet someone, or just pass out random smiles when you meet someone’s eye. It does so much for you and the other person; a sincere, friendly manner is disarming and is the quickest way to relax others and draw them over to your side. use spin positively.
- Don’t be complacent during “down times”—they can be your best opportunities. So many of my colleagues seem to shut down during holidays. As long as media comes out the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas week, work. It’s a great time to get your fluffy media stories placed because you are competing with fewer people for media space.
- Make time for the little things that go a long way. Make an extra effort to do those little things: thank clients and customers for their devotion, thank employees for their hard work, and send birthday cards to journalists. They will return your kindness in the form of referrals, loyalty, and more positive stories.
- News is entertainment. be entertaining, exciting, interesting, and relevant.
- The best ideas don’t work until you work the idea. When you have a PR idea, think it through, try it out, and experiment—don’t put it on a shelf.
- Live an ethical, balanced life with honor, integrity, and laughter. This pays big dividends for your business and life and your PR.
- Photographs exist to break up the type. People consume media for information (news), but also for entertainment and visual stimulation. If you can, include a great image with your media pitch.
- Reporters and producers often work on defined schedules and deadlines. For events, work around them and realize that news assignments move quickly. The reporter’s day can start before dawn and go well into the night.
With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider.
Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. He has lectured at Harvard Business School and his book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations is an industry best-seller.