Public Service PR & How It Is Done In These Dog (Eat Dog!) Days
by B “Harold Ross” Wook
These “hometown” advertising sheets such as the Gallows City, MN, Free (NOT) Press cum police-news are usually in the hands of away owners & so on.
Locally, then, they very often are run in some or, more-and-more, ALL departments online by away-staff who “go by the book” as to a pre-assigned (NB) local PR FORMAT.
As well as knowing “THE format” for your PR, you ALSO need to know EXACTLY how many days AHEAD the local paper needs YOUR content framed in the standard-form PR.
And, NEITHER send your stuff “early” as “a favor” OR make your confirmation-call TOO soon, “just to be sure it gets done” on your end.
Then, it WILL just go ALL to Hell toot sweet, because stuff “gets lost,” it’s not on the person’s mind THAT day, so they have to go out of their way to “remember ANOTHER damn detail…oh, like Hell!”
THE reality about getting copy printed is that more than ever space-availability in the daily or regular issues is governed online by corporate HQ page-by-page make-ups from on high, these being set-up by the accountants who are FIRST-AND-LAST committed in any case to garner maximum ad-space REVENUE & keeping back ALWAYS column-space therefore.
ALSO, as well as with Wally Mart & Lowes, the outside “hometown” PR agent, usually a volunteer in the Public Service PR-cases, is very much in a race with other “outsiders” for space, and PLUS with all of the VARIABLY spaced “really exciting stuff” on the “Trailer-Court Taser & ‘The DA did who THIS time?'” beat.
Anyway, a big, fat juicy murder WILL trump the “Junior League Xmas Chorus…Appearing THIS Year At west High In Tights!” everytime….
In any case, try to get ASAP the name of an actual underpaid LOCAL staff person on the paper whose job includes handling Public Service-type announcements & politely find out 1) how long ahead THEY need your PR in their hands & then 2) WHEN to time your followup confirmation-call.
And, get that person’s exact phone-extension or email or other address used for this.
Always, follow THEIR lead, because especially in terms of “production” they are (!) doubtlessly loaded down with a BUNCH of other picketty-pick & will be just plain grateful that yours COMES IN at “the regular time” & at least as professionally-canned as the ad-copy!
Maybe the most important thing in ALL of this IS to remember that YOU don’t want to be responsible for some poor bastard getting bitched out by some far-way dweeb!
Finally, if you happen to know the local PR editor socially, forget THAT, never EVER come around the day before or “early in that morning,” wheedling & canoodling for “a last minute favor” about publicizing “tonight’s” brawl at the Owl’s Club.
THAT is nothing to do to anyone in the business today, it’s rude anyway & so — deservedly — you will come up short ANOTHER “Friend” on MyFace….
[all rights reserved
[15 September 2014]