The Conversation: Going Viral With Public Relations

What are the key elements of a successful public relations campaign?

Are you one of many small businesses wondering why your press release is never picked up by local media or national news outlets? Attend the Center for Creative Economy’s Swerve meetup on Thursday, May 18 at the Center for Design and Innovation, located at 450 Design Avenue

Winston-Salem, to talk with public relations professionals to hear what strategies will get your business noticed. The program starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Admission is free for Swerve members and $20 for non members – lunch is included. Advance registration is encouraged and may be made online at

We asked our public relations experts a few questions and here’s what they had to say.

Image result for public relationsWhat is public relations?

It’s much more than sending a press release. Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and your business’ target audience. Each campaign should have a focused message and have measurable goals and outcomes.

Why wasn’t my press release picked up by local media?

If your press release reads as an advertisement, touting your latest product or service, your email will likely end up in the reporter’s delete box. How you spin your story can significantly increase your chances of media coverage. Think about how will the press’s viewership or listenership will benefit from the news you are sharing.

When is the best time to pitch a story?

News outlets have deadlines for when you need to send information. Become familiar with their deadlines and their submission process. You may also review the editorial calendar for magazines to see what their news focus will be throughout the year. Try to stay away from holidays, unless your public relations campaign serves the greater good.

How do I get my press release noticed?

Start with a strong headline that will capture the reporter’s attention. Also, make sure to send your release to the appropriate person. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor and Convention Bureau, to see if they have an updated media list you can use. You may also find on the news outlets website the email address and contact phone number for the assignment desk editor. The assignment desk editor will route your information to the appropriate department, if they find your story newsworthy. For television and radio, there are weekday morning, weekday evening, and weekend news producers. If you have a producer contact, you can make a direct pitch – but only pitch directly if you have an exceptional story. Think before you hit send. To reach bloggers, search their website for a contact. Good-old-fashion charm also goes a long way. Get to know your local media and build a relationship with them.

Image result for public relationsHow do I get national coverage?

If you have a story to share that is Associated Press worthy, pitch it to your state’s AP bureau. Not sure who to contact? Visit the Associated Press website at You can also use a press release newswire service to send your information to a targeted group of media decision makers. Campaigns can be targeted by geographic area and industry. There are a host of newswire services to chose from – do some research to decide what’s best for you based on your budget. Social media is also an option you can use to share your business news.

For more detailed helpful tips on best practices for public relations, join us for the Swerve meetup on Thursday, May 18. Visit our website at for additional information and to register.

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