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Author: Robby Schrum

PR Tips | Op-eds: The perfect meeting collateral

Congratulations! Your op-ed was published in today's Gotham Daily Planet. Now what? An op-ed's impact doesn't have to end the day after it's published. In fact, you can make an op-ed hit a component of your standard sales pitch -- whether you're selling products or ideas. An...

PR Tips | If the biggest papers say no, don’t quit your pitchin’!

Every writer would like to see his or her op-ed published in The Washington Post or The New York Times. But you never know if you're pitching your piece on the same day that Bill Clinton is submitting one as well. It's tough to beat out a former president -- much less the scores of other writers vying for scarce editorial-page real estate. So where do you go if the Post and the Times say no? You could simply pitch by circulation -- the bigger the better. But to maximize the impact of your op-ed, a more strategic approach may be in order.

PR Tips | The nuts and bolts of basic op-eds

  Op-ed writing is a mix of art and science. As with any form of writing, the art comes with practice -- and lots of it. The science, on the other hand, can be learned. Here are a few of the basics. First, virtually all op-eds are 800 words or less. Seven hundred words is even better. You can't solve all the world's problems in 700-800 words -- but that's all most newspapers have space for. Further, many readers may not make it through many more words than 800. Second, every op-ed should start off with an interesting lede. Newspapers are in the business of, well, news, so a timely opener to your piece -- one that positions it within the context of what's going on in the news world -- is usually best.

PR Tips | Writing Quality Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor are a great way to make an appearance in your favorite daily newspaper. The letters-to-the-editor page is among every newspaper's most-read sections. Further, several letters on various topics are published each day. A newspaper's editorial page, by contrast, may feature just one guest op-ed -- or even none, if it opts for popular syndicated content instead. Letters follow some simple rules. Letters should respond to the news -- usually to an article or opinion piece previously published by the newspaper. However, letters must also stand on their own. A reader should be able to understand a letter without having read the article to which it refers. They should always be less than 150 words -- and in the neighborhood of 100 is even better. Some of the most effective letters are short and pithy -- just one or two sentences. And they should always feature a strong thesis, usually in the first or second sentence.

PR Tips | Nailing Your Interview on Talk Radio

Speaking on a news or talk radio program can be a great way to spread your message to a large, reasonably captive audience. Your quote for a newspaper article may run only a sentence or two. Television can require travel -- not to mention hours in the make-up chair -- just for a 10-second segment that may end up on the cutting-room floor. A radio interview, on the other hand, can run anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more. You can fit a whole lot more than 800 words in that chunk of time. And there's no risk of your segment being edited out. But contrary to popular belief, long-winded bloviators are not welcome on the air. It's important to be short, clear, and to the point. Talking points are an interviewee's friend. It can be tough to think on your feet during a live interview, so having prepared material at the ready can save you from an awkward pause -- or "umm"-ing, "ahh"-ing, and "like"-ing your way through your spot. Here are some other tips for shining on the radio. - Approach the interview as if it's a friendly conversation. Address the host by name, and thank him or her for having you on. Know the market for the show, and make reference to it. "It's great to be with you, Sean, and with all WXYZ's listeners in Detroit." Those little touches can go a long way to ingratiating yourself with the host -- and may lead to an invite back. - Make your talking points snappy. Sure, it's true that there are 522,144 postal workers in the United States. But it's more fun to say that you could line them all up end to end and they'd stretch from DC to Akron and back.

PR Tips | Building Your Media Footprint

Everyone likes to see his name in the paper. At Keybridge, we specialize in just that -- finding ways to get our clients and their messages into the media.

But there's a lot that folks can do on their own to increase their media footprint. The key is to proactively present yourself as an expert in your chosen field. You have important things to say! But reporters won't know that unless you tell them.

Here are two things you can do. First, sign up for the free HARO (Help A Reporter Out) service. Reporters submit queries to HARO seeking sources for the stories they're writing. Then, three times a day, HARO sends its subscribers an email with all those queries.

Perhaps a reporter working on a story on home prices in Chicago would like to include some examples of recent sales. If you happen to be a real-estate agent in the Windy City, you might be able to provide the anecdotes she's looking for. Send a quick email to the reporter with your bona fides and a description of the information you can provide, and you just might land an interview.

Second, set up a few Google Alerts on issues, topics, and keywords important to you. Google Alerts put the search engine to work for you by automatically delivering search results to your inbox. You can even filter those results so that you only receive news stories, blog posts, or videos with your keywords in them.

PR Tips | Home runs don’t just happen in PR, either

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval inscribed his name in baseball's history books Wednesday night by hitting three home runs in Game One of the World Series. With the feat, he joined some illustrious company. Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols are the only others to do the same. To casual baseball fans, Sandoval may seem to have appeared out of nowhere. But he's actually been toiling in the Giants organization for over eight years. Sandoval had to log more than 2,200 at-bats in the minors -- and another 2,100 at the major-league level -- before slugging his way into baseball immortality. Similarly, folks looking to increase their media footprint generally need to notch a number of solid-if-not-sexy placements before they can reach a million readers with one op-ed or feature article.