Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning PR at the Impact Hub San Francisco

I got to attend a free public relations workshop last week at the Impact Hub San Francisco.  The space is unique among incubators because it supports non-profit startups and B-corporations.  It's the latest manifestation of the social capital phenomenon.  I'm all about free info and free support so I had to check this out.  I must have looked out of place as the only dude there in a suit and tie but I had just come from a more formal engagement, so that's my story.

The speakers were all PR practitioners and journalists.  The single most important thing I learned in the PR workshop was the importance of building relationships with journalists.  They repeated that lesson over and over again; repetition drives a point home like nothing else.  The social media space is pretty small but it can launch stories into the mainstream media.  They key is to cultivate a targeted list of journalists covering your sector who can give a social media story traction if they trust you as a source.  The story, of course, is your press release that touts something your business is doing.

The ever-awesome Hermione Way was the final speaker.  She is even hotter in person than she looks in photos.  Her "inside baseball" tips on media relationships were invaluable and I'll repeat a few right here.  Never assume anything is off the record.  Don't launch your PR at bad times (like when a big competitor has a major launch) or misunderstand a reporter's lead time for publishing.  Retweeting journalists' articles gets their attention and sometimes high-powered people tweet back.  One TV appearance is worth millions in ad spend.  Drink booze with the press, because that's how journalists relieve stress.  Got it, Hermione (BTW, it's pronounced "her-MY-nee").  Thanks for the tips and for being so incredibly hot.  Now I just need to figure out where the financial press in the San Francisco area goes for drinks after hours so I can ply them with my awesomeness.  I look forward to drinking with hot female media personalities like Hermione Way so they can marvel at my extreme genius while they push out my business PR.

Here come the hot media sites the experts mentioned.  Help A Reporter Out (HARO) enables anyone with authority on some subject to get the attention of reporters.  Muckrack aggregates the daily tweets of topics journalists discuss.  TechCrunch likes entertaining stories.

Hey folks, I don't publish this stuff just for my health.  I'm always looking for the hot angles that will give my business the edge.  You betcha I'm using these strategies myself.  Sharing a few tips with my audience makes me the go-to guy for business insights.  Don't believe me?  Just ask me.