PR 101 - what is (and isn't) public relations?
July 15th, 2021
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As your public relations professionals, Press Hook is here to facilitate media relations and help to shape your brand’s voice in the eyes of the media. The Press Hook platform (and our team of savvy PR professionals) will always do their best to put your products in front of the right contacts, who we believe will resonate with your company’s message and mission. We are here to be your mouthpiece and the below notes on the basics of PR will help you understand what we do, why we do it, and also what we don’t do.

What is PR?

Public relations can certainly be described as a branding tool, however, it is often conflated with Marketing. PR is the process of working with the media to build brand recognition, with the purpose of securing earned media, and ultimately building credibility with consumers. It is earned media (and not paid media), and can and should be used in conjunction with other marketing practices and paid advertisements. As a consumer starts to repeatedly see your brand in editorials, they are more likely to respond to an advertisement or buy your product in retailers. Ultimately, our PR efforts aim to keep your brand top of mind and in a positive light for consumers or within your industry.

What isn’t PR?

Marketing, advertising or a 100% guarantee of… anything. While Press Hook has many strong contacts that we tap to get your brand message in front of millions of consumers, at the end of the day, it is entirely the journalist's discretion as to what they will include. Unlike paid advertisements, brands have no input on exactly what an editor will publish. Many times, if they are not a fan of a product, they simply won’t write about it, however; occasionally, there might be a negative review or an off-hand comment in a product review round-up. Press Hook does our best to mitigate this by going to trusted, allied journalists/editors, and sharing clear messaging so the media have realistic expectations of the product.

What to expect from PR efforts:

  • Lead times: Once we begin pitching a journalist, it takes time to lay the groundwork with that writer, especially when we are introducing a new company to the media. There are a couple of steps between the initial pitch and a live piece of media coverage. As a way to build rapport and introduce products to the writer, we often send samples for them to try first hand. Additionally, the writers have to pitch their stories and reviews to their editors before it can be approved to run. In short, securing confirmed coverage can take time, but Press Hook’s publicists are persistent and have long-standing relationships with many of these editors. Many times, journalists are not given a firm run date for confirmed coverage, therefore Press Hook typically does not have this intel either. When we talk about ‘short leads’ we mostly mean any online publications. The time an article can go live ranges anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. For ‘long leads’ (the glossy magazines we all love), these opportunities can take anywhere from 4-6 months to go live in print.

  • Editor sampling: One of the best features of Press Hook is our seamless sample seeding process, which is all done directly through the website! Putting traditional PR practices in the past, journalists can go to your brand profile, request a sample of any of your featured products, and you’ll get notified directly in your inbox. While you always have the option to approve or reject a sample request, it’s worth noting that getting your products in the hands of journalists will always give you a higher chance of being included in their stories. It’s also important that you add tracking information for each sample request that you approve. The more insight editors have into the timeline of sample arrival, the easier it is for them to plan out their stories.

  • Digital press kit: Once you sign up with us, you’ll be asked to complete your brand profile and submit it for review. This profile will serve as your digital press kit. Our team will then carefully review the copy, make any necessary changes so that it looks editorially friendly, and push it live on our site. The good news is if you ever change your brand messaging, have new imagery, or news, you can always log into the Press Hook dashboard and make those changes yourself.

  • Changes to an article: 95% of the time, a journalist will not make changes to an article after it’s been published, unless it’s a factual change (pricing or retailer information).

PR Glossary:

  • Circulation: The estimate of monthly readers for print publications.
  • UVPM: Unique visitors per month, the estimate of consumers that read an online publication in a month timeframe.
  • Press release: An official statement or announcement (of a new product or company launch) issued to publications giving all factual information. While press releases aren’t used too often nowadays, they can still be useful for big news you have to share.
  • Pitch: A short personalized message (nowadays, via email) that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It is usually very short and to the point, and contains the angle, the ‘why’ and key information on the related brand. Typically pitches are around 150 words long, but can reach up to 400 words.
  • Press kit: A wide range of a brand’s assets and information, all conveniently in one place. A press kit is good for journalists, because it gives them a snapshot view of all of the key USPs of the brand. Usually a press kit contains press releases, product information, stats, photos, founder bios and other relevant material about your brand.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The process of improving ranking in search engine results. With improved SEO, your company’s name shows up earlier and more often when people search for keywords related to your brand or industry, ultimately generating leads and traffic to your website.
  • Boilerplate: A boilerplate is usually found at the end of a press release, and briefly describes the company or organization related above. The short paragraph consisting of just a few sentences concisely explains the company or organization.
  • Advertorial: An ad written in the form of an objective opinion editorial, and presented in a printed publication—usually designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story (but it’s important to note this is paid media not earned media).
  • Editorial calendar: Calendars with scheduled topics that will be covered at a certain publication for the entire year. Most editorial calendars include major holidays as themes for their stories (i.e. Valentine’s Day, National Pancake Day, Mother’s Day, etc). PR professionals typically have these calendars on file, so they can pitch with the appropriate timing to reach out to an editor about a specific story.