It’s up to you to make use of proven PR tactics to help build awareness and credibility of your brand. Here are seven tips to help jumpstart your PR efforts, or improve existing programs: 1) Focus On Your Newsworthy Attributes The news hook is an important information trigger that actually interests news editors and reporters, not something contrived or self-serving that you think should interest the media. You’ll have far greater success garnering news coverage if your announcement is based on a proven news hook, rather than being full of puffery and information only of interest to you. 2) Keep Your PR Tool Kit Up-To-Date The basic tools for being reporter friendly are: well-written news releases, media/press kit (both online and hardcopy), fact sheets and Q&A documents, backgrounders and history documents, bios of key employees, milestone recap and related timeline, photography (high resolution required for print reproduction), and technical documents such as white papers and case studies. The more information you are able to provide an interested reporter, the more likely your encounter will result in thorough, accurate and engaging coverage. 3) Utilize Newswire Services Newswires – effectively selected, written and timed – turn up the volume on your media announcement. Specialized dissemination services -- such as PR Newswire, Business Wire, PR Web, PR.com and PR Leap – can give your news release added exposure to both the media and potential customers searching the Internet for your products or services as the release remains posted online. 4) Become Skilled At E-mail Campaigns E-mail is, on the whole, the most preferred form of communication for reaching the news media (versus unsolicited phone calls, text messages or podcasts to busy journalists). Where do you get the e-mail addresses? Check the contact section of the media outlet’s website or subscribe to a media contact data source such as Bacon\'s MediaSource, Burrelles Luce MediaContacts or Bulldog Reporter MediaBase. 5) Make Use Of Leads Services The leads service is a special PR tool that allows reporters on deadline to reach out to companies and individuals for information and interviews. Examples of these services, available by subscription, are PR Newswire’s ProfNet and PRSourceCode. Here’s an example of a recent Profnet Query: “I am writing a story for a national business publication roughly titled \'Sales 2.0.\' The article looks at how some of the new tools such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and other Web 2.0 tech stuff are changing the way companies prospect for sales, contact and woo sales, close sales, and then keep customers happy. I am only interested in talking to small and medium-sized businesses (with 1,000 employees or less).” 6) Share Your Expertise Via Articles Bylined articles, like you’re reading now, are when you write articles for the print media (usually at the invitation of the editor) about your area of expertise. Opportunities can range from a 250-word squib to a 2,000-word feature. A short paragraph at the end of the article usually recaps the author’s credentials, explains his/her company or organization title and affiliation, and provides the reader with website contact information. 7) Win Awards To Attract Attention Receipt of an industry or community award is a legitimate news hook that can help attract the attention of editors and reporters and ultimately gain valuable media exposure. The focus of the award gives the recipient a reason to expand on the particular topic by providing additional information and related photography. Quite frequently, the prestige of receiving one or several industry awards offers the “awareness lift” necessary to secure a profile or full feature about your company or organization. Now it\'s time to start -- either on your own or with the assistance of a skilled practitioner who can assist you with your PR initiative and help you understand the many tactics available to you. Whatever road you take, happy awareness building of your brand!