#PRConf15 guest blog five: Conference golden nuggets

Written by Heather Claycomb FPRINZ, Director of HMC Communications

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 22:  during the annual Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Conference on May 22, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Panel of Trish Sherson, Colin Espiner and Charmaine Ngarimu discuss the changing media landscape (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

PRINZ conference was full of ‘golden nuggets’ – gems of information that will have a positive effect on my professional effectiveness as I implement them.

Here are just a few:

Sending out media releases with great visuals is non-negotiable

In the ‘Reframing Media Relations’ panel discussion, Trish Sherson talked about how often she is framing client stories around a great photo. In fact she often uses a visual to determine exactly how to write a news story.

Her implication was that if you are sending out media releases without great visuals, you are mad. The days of writing up a news release and then trying to figure out how you can rustle up a photo quickly (which ends up being of the back of people’s heads and 100kb) are well and truly gone.

Getting a great visual – photo, video or infographic – needs to be as important as the news story itself.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 21:  during the annual Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Conference on May 21, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Richard Spencer, Head of Digital at Two Social (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Make it shareable or don’t bother

Richard Spencer of Two Social shared a surprising statistic: Facebook now limits your organic reach to 6%. This means only 6% of the people who like your company page will see your post if no one likes or shares that post. This means if you aren’t posting shareable, engaging and consumable content you are wasting your time!

This is a lesson that goes well beyond Facebook – it’s applicable to every social media channel. But more than that, it’s applicable to just about every piece of content PRs create. We are immersed in a ‘clickable’ society.

If your messages aren’t honed, interesting and engaging – whether it’s a staff newsletter story, Tweet or media release – you won’t achieve your communications objectives at the end of the day.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 21:  during the annual Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Conference on May 21, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Gavin Ellis, Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

Your ‘good news story’ requires more commentary and balance

Opening speaker, Gavin Ellis, talked about how journalists have very little time for research and, in fact, 50% of news content can be traced back to press release. It’s common for releases to be printed verbatim without checks and balances, which puts more onus on our profession to get it right.

Gavin went so far as to suggest that the news stories we generate should provide contextualised background and multiple quotes from supporting sources. And . . . . (are you sitting down?), he even suggested this new media landscape might require PRs to report alternative viewpoints to those of our company/client. I have to admit, I’m still digesting that one! But it’s food for thought.

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