Decoding the PR Game: Navigating Publication Rules like a Pro

May 22, 2023

Mastering the PR Chessboard: Knowing the Rules

Knowing the rules of the publication game is the unsung hero of successful PR strategy. This insider wisdom shared by Josh Steimle, an influential figure in the PR world, emphasizes how understanding the unique submission rules of different publications can significantly boost your PR success rate.

Why Understanding Publication Rules Matters

Why bother deciphering the intricate rules of each publication? The answer lies in the diversity of policies across various media outlets. From Forbes, which requires a commitment of five to seven articles per month from their contributors, to Fast Company, which evaluates each one-off article submission independently, the publishing landscape is a complex, dynamic ecosystem. 

Understanding this ecosystem is crucial to tailoring your PR strategy and ensuring your content finds the right home.

The Nuts and Bolts: Publication-Specific Guidelines

Publication-specific guidelines serve as the blueprint for your PR efforts. These rules, often detailed in the publication’s submission or contributor guidelines, dictate the number of articles expected from contributors, the type of content accepted, and the evaluation process for submissions. Familiarizing yourself with these nuances can help you align your PR strategy with the publication’s expectations, increasing the likelihood of your content being published.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Research the publication: Spend time understanding the publication’s submission rules and guidelines.
  2. Align your strategy: Tailor your PR efforts to meet the specific requirements of each publication.

Adding Value: The Key to Building Relationships

Beyond understanding the rules, adding value to writers is a crucial aspect of PR. Offering assistance, providing resources, and sharing data can be instrumental in establishing a relationship with writers. Remember, many contributors aren’t full-time employees of the publication but freelancers or part-timers. Reaching out to them with a helpful attitude can go a long way in fostering a productive relationship.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Offer assistance: Ask writers what they need help with and offer to provide resources and data.
  2. Keep emails concise: Writers are often busy; keeping your communication short and to the point can be appreciated.

The Pitch: Aligning with Publication Rules

When pitching your content, remember to align with the publication’s rules. The pitch should meet the content expectations and format guidelines. By aligning your pitch with the publication’s rules, you not only increase the chances of your content being published but also demonstrate respect for the writer’s time and the publication’s standards.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Tailor your pitch: Ensure your pitch aligns with the publication’s rules and guidelines.
  2. Respect the process: Acknowledge the rules of the publication in your pitch, demonstrating your understanding and respect for their process.

Evolving with the Rules: The Long Game

The world of publications is constantly evolving, with changes in editorial guidelines, content preferences, and contributor rules. Staying updated with these changes and adapting your PR strategy accordingly is an ongoing part of the PR game.

Practical Takeaways:

  1. Stay updated: Regularly check the publication’s guidelines for updates or changes.
  2. Adapt your strategy: Be ready to tweak your PR strategy in line with changing publication rules.

Understanding publication rules is an essential part of the PR playbook. By respecting these guidelines and aligning your strategy accordingly, you position yourself as a knowledgeable and respectful player in the PR field. This approach not only increases your chances of success but also fosters a reputation for professionalism and respect for the rules of the game. It’s an investment of time and effort that can yield dividends in the form of successful PR outcomes.

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