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The Power of Personalized PR: Top Tips for Communications Pros

Philippa Dods

Dec 8, 2023

It’s certainly easier to send out a mass release in the hopes it gets published somewhere, but successful PR lies in taking the time to successfully build relationships with media — otherwise known as "personalized PR".

Rule number one in the public relations business is: don't send shotgun press releases to journalists.

A successful PR-media relationship is based on doing the groundwork. Know who you’re targeting and why. Inspire trust by explaining why you’ve chosen them, and show you’ve done your homework in terms of the beat they work in and what type of news they usually cover.

However, if you're used to blasting your press release in hopes that it sticks, this could be easier said than done. So we've come up with six steps to help you move away from this less strategic method and toward a more personalized approach.


The below article is adapted from Meltwater’s webinar on How to Write the Perfect Press Release, presented by Bizcommunity’s editor-in-chief Leigh Andrews.

6 Steps to Move Toward Personalized PR

In today’s world of information overload, with fake news and misinformation on the rise, journalists and editors simply don’t have time to read, let alone publish, every piece of content they receive.

1. It's who you know

But not just who. It's also what you know about them. Establish a personal connection by mentioning a similar interest or connection in common.

2. Don't over-sell

If the story is truly newsworthy, you won’t need to sell it to us. Send through the basics — including social media handles and photos. If the journalist is interested and requires additional angles, images, or contacts, they'll ask.

3. Provide the essential information

Ensure you includes the basics in your pitch — who, what, where, when, why, how. This will help to minimize any back-and-forth if it sparks media interest. You’d be surprised how often a crucial detail is missing, such as the date, time or venue of an event, or the price of a new product.

4. Use proper formatting

The format of the content you send through could make or break it getting picked up. Paste it into the body of the email and also attach as a Word doc (not a PDF). Attach images to the email rather than embedding in the document.

5. Go through a feedback round

Get someone else to look over the release and email. A second pair of eyes can catch things easily missed by the primary writer! And the last thing you want is to have to recall a pitch that has a typo or incorrect information.

6. Get internal sign-off

Be sure to get the go-ahead internally before sending a pitch. This is especially important for embargoed announcements or sensitive PR moves.

power of personalised pr girl wearing glasses

How to Build a Better Relationship With the Media

The average media professional wears many different hats: proofreader, fact checker, photographer, social media manager, video editor, and basic graphic designer to name a few. If you’re approachable and able to quickly send through a few snappy comments from your client or company on a hot topic, you’ll fast become a favorite.

PR is all about relationships and so building a positive working network of media contacts is essential for success.

You can do so by having a quick read of a journalists' top stories for an idea of what they typically cover and, of course, nothing beats the face-to-face interaction.

Tip: Read this UK Media Database Comparison to find the best tool to help you with your outreach and contact building.

power of personalised pr gary vaynerchuk quote

We’re all in the communications game together, but tend to spend our days deep in our respective trenches, forgetting to work together as allies. Fine time to pencil in an hour for a quick coffee meet to chat through how a journalist you're interested in picking up your story works, and what they're currently focused on. You’re guaranteed to get a better response to that than if you phone them weekly while they're busy chasing deadlines.

Newsrooms are consistently stretched so if you’re as speedy and accommodating to their time and schedule, they'll be more likely to prioritize your content needs over the myriad of other content missiles vying for their attention.

PR Measurement

Once a story runs or a PR campaign is finished, measuring the results is essential. To that end, make sure your PR measurement strategy is on track!

There are many ways to measure PR success that provide you and your team with a much more accurate and realistic view of how your PR efforts are paying off. You no longer have to rely only on physical clippings as a barometer.

With PR tools and software, like Meltwater Media Intelligence, you can customize your PR reporting and see more metrics that provide a fuller picture. Request a demo by filling out the form below to see it in action!