We live in a new era, an era in which the tools we have at our disposal are unprecedented and unparalleled. Some of these tools like email, we already take for granted, and some, we are totally not maximizing when it comes to doing effective public relations.

While many agencies and professionals out there call themselves PR experts, only a minority of them can actually deliver, primarily because they are doing it wrong.

The process of running a successful PR campaign is comprised of at least four equally important stages.

Research, it's not fun, but do it anyway.

Before doing journalist outreach or even writing the press release, you need to make sure you know what you're up against. Who is the relevant journalist? Have they written about your space? Your competitors? Do they love them? Hate them? Are they active on Twitter?

These are only a few questions you should ask yourself before proceeding. Of course, before writing the actual release, make sure your messaging and positioning is well-defined and that the release reflects that. Before writing or doing any outreach, make sure you are prepared to answer any and all relevant questions about the announcement.

Tell me the story, and only the story.

This might come as a shocker to you, but a press release is not a marketing document. A press release needs to briefly and clearly communicate the story and avoid any and all superlatives and marketing lingo. If the word "Revolutionary" is in your release, you should go back to the drawing board. Tell the journalist whom you are pitching what they want to know. What is the news, and why should they and their readers care? Answer that and you are gold.

That story? Make sure the right people hear it.

Cannot stress this point enough. You can have the absolute best story and even the best press release, but if you are pitching your blockchain story to a journalist who covers mobile apps, well, this won't go very well for you.

Figure out who the best and most relevant journalist is for your story and get to know them before pitching them. Perhaps follow them on their social channels. How do they like to be pitched? How do they hate to be pitched? Is social media something they embrace and if so, what do they talk about? Learn your audience and tailor your story for their interests.

Follow up, because, well, all of our inboxes look the same.

This point is key, and it is something so many PR professionals forget. Once you did the research, drafted the release, and conducted some targeted outreach, mark down the status of your interaction with each journalist in an Excel sheet that you created and make sure to stay on top of it.

This is a delicate balance between making sure things don't fall between the cracks and being annoying. Wait a few weeks, follow up with something along the lines of "Just circling back on this" or "Making sure this email doesn't get buried" when replying to the original email. Journalists are human, and humans hate their inboxes.

One thing that is incredibly important to remember when doing PR is, just like you need the journalist for coverage, they need you for a good story. If you feed them that story in an objective and news-worthy manner, what you will find is a classic win-win situation.

Published on: Nov 6, 2018