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Cornwall Museums Partnership

PR Tips & Tricks

PR Tips & Tricks was a half-day session held at the Truro Community Library on Thursday, 22nd of June 2017. The aim of the session was to bring together a number of Cornwall museums professionals to discuss with media and PR professionals about some fundamental tips for achieving good PR for museums with limited budget and resources. The session was organised by Cornwall Museums Partnership with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund – Catalyst programme.

There is a necessity for museums to focus on their PR target audience; that is the journalists. Museums must establish a meaningful, quid-pro-quo relationship with journalists. This can be developed by inviting them to special events held in museums and being in frequent communication with them.

  • Make sure you have the correct email address of the person you want to talk to. Always email journalists using their individual email address.
  • Even if you want to get your story out to the radio, it is best to include images and videos, to strengthen your story. Always bear in mind that all material you forward needs to be copyrighted.
  • Do take no for an answer. Journalists are terribly busy at all times, therefore it is likely that, at times, journalists will not be interested in your story.

Your story

  • Pick a story and make it interesting and try to opt for unusual stories.
  • When recording a video to feature your story, make sure that you hold the phone in a landscape position. When you forward videos to journalists, make sure to attach them to their original format (.mp files), and not using a Youtube link.
  • When you give an interview, be your normal self and speak like you would normally do.
  • During interviews, it is important that you don’t use any industry-specific jargon, as this will not make sense to people who will listen to your interview.

‘Journalists want good quality content without having to do much. Why? Not because they’re lazy – but because they are extremely busy’ – Tristan Hunkin, Content Director

It is very important that museums pick up and read the newspapers in which they want their story to be featured in. Be critical and start identifying the main characteristics the press releases featured in them. Keep notes of what they all have in common and try to apply this to your case.

The press release

  • A good press release should be no longer than 450 words.
  • Consider the 5 Ws, namely: Who you are, What you do, Where you do it, When you do it, and Why it is important. Remember to attach images or videos.
  • Do not forget to leave your contact details with the journalist.
  • The best time to send a press release over to a newspaper is 2 weeks before it gets published.

‘Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to journalists’ – Scott Harrison, Editor

You don’t have to have a PR education or background to do a decent PR job. There are two fundamental skills in PR: a) writing skills b) people skills.

  • Give an exciting title to your email in an effort to grab the attention of journalists.
  • Edit and change your press release according to which journalist you’re sending it to, and what type of audience you want to reach each time.
  • Define the messages you want to get across, and really consider the tone of voice. Messages must come from a human angle.
  • Use simple language that everyone will understand.

PR is not just about media and press anymore. Pay special attention to your websites, social media, newsletters, etc. An important part of PR these days is blogging – a blogs page on your website is a useful tool to get people engaged and take notice of you.

Organising late events in your museum can prove to be a great way to attract PR coverage. The best time to hold a late event is between 5.30 – 7.30pm. Have a thought on what you have in your museum that is definitely worth showcasing, and come up with a well-thought out, properly managed event.

‘Engage people with real human stories’ – Sue Bradbury PR

You can access the blog section of Sue Bradbury PR website here for some further useful tips.

  • The ground-breaking element of an exhibition or museum can be an essential factor that can lead to a great and wide PR coverage – both locally and nationally.
  • PR success for museums involves the ability to tell human stories. This is the museums’ Unique Selling Point – as museums are abundant with exciting personal stories of people. It is important to use these stories to tell your own PR story.
  • Be creative, think outside the box, and present a really interesting story.

‘The ground-breaking element and real human stories can encourage wide PR coverage’ – Lauren Hogan, PR & Marketing Manager

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