Seven Secrets of Highly Effective PR Pros (Part Two)

In my previous post, I covered these three “secrets” of highly effective PR pros.

  • Successful PR pros understand how the media works.
  • Successful PR pros do their homework.
  • Successful PR pros develop good stories.

Here are four more.

Secret #4: Successful PR pros balance mainstream and “new” media.

These days, it is not mainstream or “new” media. It’s both.

Although mainstream media is shrinking, they still have prestige and credibility. People brag about being mentioned in The New York Times. I have yet to hear anyone brag about being mentioned in a tweet.

But make sure you incorporate online tools into your publicity program. That means:

  • A good website with an online news room.
  • SEO-optimized news releases.
  • An active blog.
  • Good profiles and activity on social networking sites like LinkedIn and (possibly) Facebook.
  • And, if appropriate, posts on YouTube and Twitter.

Pay attention to both mainstream and new media. It’s essential these days.

Secret #5: Successful PR pros write well.

One of the most common complaints I hear from reporters is the poor quality of the written materials they receive. News releases, in particular, are often poorly written, with fluff, superlatives and jargon. Grammar, punctuation and spelling seem to be ignored.

I recommend that you let your drafts sit overnight and look at them the next day. Better yet, have someone else read them and see if they can identify the major messages. (If not, rewrite.) Read your drafts aloud and check their readability with Word’s Readability Statistics. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.

Write well. You will stand out in the crowd.

Secret #6: Successful PR pros treat the media professionally.

This may seem so obvious that it shouldn’t even be mentioned, but treat the media professionally.

That means:

  • Respond if they contact you.
  • Train your company spokesperson in media interview techniques. Without training, many people either clam up or talk too much, either of which makes for a poor interview.
  • Be polite. Years ago someone was rude to the assistant of a prominent technology reporter. He went public, making it clear what he thought about such behavior. It’s fair to assume that the offending PR person never got coverage in that column. Be kind to everyone, regardless of their title or responsibility.
  • And keep things in perspective. An editor told me he had received angry calls from PR people about the content of an article. I, too, had contacted him about an error in that article, but did so calmly and politely. I didn’t harm my relationship with him; my guess is that the others did.

Mom was right. Be nice.

Secret #7: Successful PR pros give publicity a fair try.

I find many people get discouraged and quit their publicity activities too easily. I’ve joked about starting the one-news-release club because I’ve seen so many companies send out one or two news releases, think that they’ve given public relations a “fair try” and stop.

It’s the old adage, 80 percent of success is just showing up. If you want publicity, you need to keep “showing up.”

And there you have it, seven secrets of highly effective publicity pros. I’m sure there are many more. I’d love to hear your ideas.


Kay Paumier helps B2B companies spread the word about their products and services, making them become better known, more credible and more profitable. Her public relations and communications services include publicity, media relations, writing, company and product launches, and presentations. Kay serves as WIC’s marketing and director. Her website is


About Kay Paumier

Kay Paumier works with B2B companies that are struggling to stand out in the crowd. She spreads the word about their products and services, making them better known, more credible and more profitable. Her marketing-communications services include public relations, publicity, media relations, writing, company and product launches, and presentations. Kay serves as WIC’s marketing director. Her website is


  1.' Lynn Bruno says

    Enjoyed your post, particularly your comments about the one press release club. It’s not just true of press releases. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone tell me “I tried that and it didn’t work” after one or two half-hearted ill-informed attempts. Marketing and PR is like shampooing–it’s lather, rinse, repeat, almost every day.

    One comment–I actually have heard someone brag about being mentioned in a tweet, and have done so myself!

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