Archive for the 'Public Relations' Category

SA News Distribution Service Brings The Power Of Publicity To More Companies

A news distribution service has recently launched in South Africa, which now provides the most cost-effective way to send press releases directly to targeted journalists and editors, helping companies gain valuable media exposure. Media Alerts News Distribution will help journalists access relevant news, while helping companies easily distribute their news to all the right media contacts.
Media Alerts News Distribution uses the Encyclomedia media database, South Africa’s largest database of over 6 500 journalists, including all print, broadcast and online media, plus influential freelancers and bloggers.

Useful reporting: The service includes a report with the number of emails sent, plus a list of the media titles the release was sent to - useful for internal or client reporting and tracking of media exposure.


  • Publicity results are boosted by expanding the reach of the press release, with access to the largest database of contacts.
  • No need to spend hours researching to find the right media contacts, this has already been done by the industry specialist.
  • Press releases are personalised with the journalists’ names, making it stand out from the hundreds of general emails they receive.
  • The targeted approach means that the press release is sent to the right media contacts who are in the best position to use the information.
  • Press releases are formatted in the journalists’ preferred layout, helping them quickly find the information, key contacts and images.


  • R1 750 per release (includes one category of your choice)
  • R150 per additional category (over 30 targeted categories to choose from)

This is the most affordable way to individually contact every news outlet in South Africa.

If this is something that could help expand your media coverage, we’d be happy to give you more information. Find out more on our website:

Popularity: 30% [?]

New SA Tool To Help Journalists And Benefit PRs

A free online tool is launching on Thursday, 21 May, to help South African journalists source relevant content for the stories they’re working on, by reaching a network of PR professionals who are in the best position to help.

Media Alerts will help journalists reach the people with the right contacts and information, whether they need people to interview, or facts and stats on a specific topic. Based on the American Help A Reporter Out concept, Media Alerts lets journalists receive the best selection of content in a short space of time.

How it works – leveraging networks
Journalists submit their specific requests online, which are then sent to the subscribers, who are mostly PR professionals. These are the people who have direct access to the CEOs, MDs, entrepreneurs, celebrities and other networks that reporters need to tap into.

Through Media Alerts, the PR practitioners have access to highly valuable publicity opportunities they may never have known about. Plus, by helping journalists find the information they need, they are also building stronger media relationships.

Relevant content only
The PR subscribers have been given one rule though - to only ever send content that is directly relevant to the journalist’s request. Any abuse of this rule will see them being removed from the service.

The first Media Alerts will be sent on Thursday, 21 May. In the meantime, journalists can submit requests here and PR practitioners can subscribe here.

It’s an added-value Encyclomedia service, so there’s no charge for either side.

Popularity: 24% [?]

PR Success Strategies Video Preview

Check out this 30 second video of the upcoming PR Success Strategies For Your Business conference, taking place on 20 November 2008 in Cape Town. The video was created using Animoto, which is a great tool for turning your pictures into synchronised music videos.

Popularity: 30% [?]

PR Success Strategies For Your Business - PR Conference

If you’re looking to expand your media knowledge and learn highly effective practical PR skills, then the PR Success Strategies For Your Business conference is not to be missed. This full-day conference is going to be jam-packed with invaluable insights into the media, best practices in PR and publicity success strategies. 

- 20 November 2008.
- 08:30 - 17:00.
- The Forum, Victoria & Alfred Hotel, Cape Town.
- Early Bird Special: R2500 until 3 November (R2750 thereafter).
Limited seats remaining, register here.


- The power of PR & how to apply it to your business.
- How to think like a journalist & understand the needs of the media.
- PR and publicity best-practices and success strategies.
- Top publicity and media relations tips, direct from journalists themselves.
- How to effectively pitch your ideas to journalists.
- Best media relationship building ideas.
- Top tips on using social media for business.
- How to use online PR to boost your exposure and reputation, plus online reputation management.
- A practical workshop session on mapping your message - how to define and fine-tune your core message to the media.
- Discover new publicity angles and story ideas.

Find more details on the conference and the speakers here:

Popularity: 26% [?]

Must-Have PR Book - A Perfect Press Release

Almost every PR person comes across this problem at some stage or another: their client wants every major national media to cover their little ribbon-cutting ceremony; or they insist on adding their own flowery adjectives and industry jargon to your neatly-crafted news releases. This book will help.

A Perfect Press Release... Or Not?A Perfect Press Release…Or Not? by Jennigay Coetzer is a highly practical book, which jumps straight into useful advice right from the first paragraph. Although it’s mostly a “how-to” type of guide, it also offers some strategic advice to senior PR practitioners. Importantly, it is written so that any CEO or business person can understand what a press release should be, what it should never be and why.

I highly recommend that PR consultants and agency owners give a copy of this book to each of their clients as part of some essential media training. It will go a long way to streamline the press release approval process and possibly prevent a lot of frustration (and no, I’m not being paid a cent for saying this).  :)

This book should also be prescribed reading for all PR interns and junior staff as a quick way to cover all the basics and best-practices, along with Encyclomedia’s free Media Pitching Tips Revealed email series.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Personal Public Relations Device (PPRD)

5Fm's DJ FreshDJ Fresh, of 5FM’s The Fresh Drive fame, has come up with a device which converts your public statement (written or verbal) into a clean, politically correct poetic verse. The device threatens to bring public relations to the people and take a large bite out of the PR market. The device was showcased on The Fresh Drive yesterday, June 11 ‘08.

Can’t hear the sound? Follow this link to listen to the new PPRD

Let us know your thoughts on this latest techno-gadget. Is it set to take the PR industry to new levels or will it bring our industry to its knees?!

Popularity: 100% [?]

Sad Situation - PRISA National Conference Cancelled

The Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA) has cancelled its annual conference, which was set to take place next week. The official reason: low bookings due to the recent xenophobic violence and unrest in Gauteng. Is it just me, or does this sound somewhat like a story that’s been spun?

Zimbabweans living in the townships have had a terrifying time trying to travel via public transport. But public relations practitioners travelling by plane and by car are in a very different situation, very far away from experiencing any xenophobic attacks. I find it hard to believe that people outside of Gauteng would decide not to attend the conference for this reason, it just doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the increase in petrol prices would be a more believable reason.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but it actually isn’t the point. I completely agree with Louise Marsland where she says that PRISA’s statement - citing xenophobic violence as the sole reason for low bookings - is highly irresponsible. According to a statement by PRISA’s president, Mixael de Kock, South Africa will have great difficulty in restoring its reputation following the recent xenophobic attacks. The statement said “PRISA is ready to play its part in strategising the country’s communication efforts in the months to come”.

Hmm, so after fanning the flame you then offer to help put it out?

The planning of this conference has been going on for months, whereas the xenophobic violence has only flared up over the last few weeks. The conference organisers could’ve seen early on how the bookings compared with those of previous years at the same stage of planning. If the sales were slow, they could’ve used their strategic skills to make changes or increase the marketing and PR efforts much earlier. Granted, South Africans love to leave things for the last minute, so perhaps they were counting on a mass charge for tickets in the last month.

To my mind, perhaps the biggest barrier to ticket sales was the choice of topics covered during the conference. Covering “Communication - The Sixth Sense“, topics ranged from the nature of intelligence and consciousness to neuro-semantics and neuro-hermeneutics. Although these topics fascinate me and I can definitely see the benefit of these for communication in general, I’m probably in the minority.

The choice to cover these topics was very brave and perhaps even pioneering for a conservative type of organisation like PRISA. I applaud them for trying something new, but considering that it is such a new angle, surely they should’ve done their homework first to see if the idea would take, or at least keep a very close watch on ticket sales in the early stages. PRISA plans to reschedule the conference for September and they say they will tweak various aspects of the offering to make it an even better event.

The biggest irony for me is that a conference covering emotional, social, ethical and spiritual intelligence is cancelled due to fears of unrest, which is perhaps not the most ethical or socially aware response. I really am sad for PRISA that the conference has been cancelled, but I can’t help but wonder if it could’ve been avoided or could’ve been handled differently.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Top 15 PR Blogs I’ve Read

This is a quick list of some of the best international PR, publicity and media relations related blogs that I’ve read recently (and there are many, many more that I haven’t read yet). I’m not numbering them, because this list is not in order of priority or greatness, it’s just a random order - you can see which blogs appeal to you most.

- The Bad Pitch Blog: “An award-winning public relations resource from Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan, since January 2006. Read our Wrath.”

- BuzzMachine: “Jeff Jarvis blogs about media and news at”

- The Buzz Bin: Geoff Livingston & Livingston Communications.

- Allied:


Popularity: 76% [?]

Leveraging Your Publicity - Why Not?

One of my clients forwarded an email to me last week (sorry I didn’t get to share this with you until now), where she pointed out a simple, yet very effective marketing message she received from Dawn Wing Couriers.

The email simply referred to an upcoming guest appearance of their CEO, Mike Fanucchi, on 702 Talk Radio. Dawn Wing’s marketing manager invited their clients to share their comments and opinions during the show. The email provided all the details of the interview and the studio number.

Why does an email like this stand out? Well, for some of Dawn Wing’s clients it probably doesn’t. But PR practitioners would certainly recognise this as a way of leveraging publicity. In this case, it was done in an excellent way. It’s not boastful to tell interested people about the media coverage you’ve gained, it’s smart - especially if it’s done in the spirit of sharing information about topics that would interest others.

If you’ve done all the hard work and research to organise a great radio interview or magazine feature, surely you would want as many people as possible to hear it or read it. That is, after all, the whole point. Who better to inform about your media coverage than your existing networks - the brand or company’s employees, clients and suppliers. They can then spread the message to other people who would be interested.

This is so obvious, yet I’m not sure how many PR companies and publicists actually have systems in place or set time aside to really leverage the hard work they’ve already done.

Popularity: 7% [?]

PR Awards - Creating More Division?

PRISA’s PRISM AwardsThe 11th PRISA PRISM Awards took place last night in Midrand, with the Gautrain Project walking away with the top awards. According to the comments appearing on Bizcommunity, several people aren’t happy about this and are looking for comments from PRISA.

But before I get into that, I’d firstly like to say well done to everyone who won awards. Then, secondly, I’d like to ask why I seem to be the only one (please let me be wrong) congratulating people/companies on their efforts. Yes, I hear the argument that the competition is only open to PRISA members (apparently that’s a misperception though - see comments below) and it’s always the usual suspects that take part. I also know that many award-deserving companies don’t feel the need to register with PRISA and will therefore never be acknowledged in these awards. So yes, the pool from which the winning PR campaigns are chosen is possibly not very deep.

But nevertheless, these PR companies took the initiative and went to the effort of submitting their case studies to get acknowledgement for their work. There’s nothing wrong with winning an award for that, irrespective of how many companies actually took part. A Marketingweb article earlier this week asked people to list top SA PR practitioners or companies, ahead of the PRISA awards ceremony. It was sad to see that so few took the opportunity to congratulate their peers and colleagues. So once again, congratulations to all the winning (and award-deserving) companies!

Coming back to the Gautrain issue, I don’t know how PRISA’s judging process works and until we know that, no-one can really objectively criticise their decision. Ideally, the key journalists’ who cover the Gautrain project should have been asked for their opinions on the effectiveness of the Gautrain’s PR team. It is a “Media Relations” award, isn’t it?

Just to let you know, I am not a PRISA member. I do, however, feel that we need a strong, healthy industry body and I’ve been keen to chat to some of the PRISA board members about this - if only they would’ve returned my calls.

I’ve just visited the PRISA website to see if I could find any media releases about the awards, but alas their newsroom link doesn’t work in Firefox and their home page still says that “judging is taking place now”.

Popularity: 7% [?]