If you’re struggling to keep on top of your public relations strategy, this handy checklist will keep you focused, writes Fiona Nicolson.

    1) Read all about it

    Regularly update your list of target publications and the key contact details for the journalists you want to speak to.

    2) News not puff

    Make sure what you’re sending journalists is newsworthy: be first, be different, be new, win something, launch something, publish a survey with fascinating findings, achieve something special, exceed your targets or grow and hire. It won’t all guarantee press coverage, but it’s likely to get you onto the journalist’s radar.

    3) What’s the story?

    Present your news clearly within a well-written press release. Ensure it has all the information the journalist will need. It must include the five ‘Ws’ - who, what, where, why and when – preferably at the start of the press release.

    Keep it short, avoid jargon and create a headline that’s attention grabbing and gives the journalist an idea of what your story is about. Figures and data can be helpful and so is a succinct quotation from a key spokesperson.

    Additional background information can be added to the ‘notes to editors’ section, along with contact details. This avoids detracting from the main points of the story.

    4) Attention to detail

    Remember to polish your press release until it shines.

    5) Hello?

    Do you always follow up on a press release? Make sure you give the journalist a quick call to see they need any more information, or if it’s been of interest.

    6) Preparation and timing

    If the journalist wants to have a chat with your designated spokesperson, make sure they’re fully briefed beforehand.

    7) Get social

    Once you’ve got the press coverage, remember to publicise it on social media. And if you weren’t successful this time, don’t give up.

    8) A helping hand

    Finally, if you don’t have the time or in-house resources to progress your PR aims, you could consider hiring a good PR company to help.

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