Successful media relations can originate from anywhere and at any time.
Ever wonder why a competitor in the market was featured on a newspaper’s Home page and was mentioned on the 6 o’clock news? It’s not magic, and sometimes people are surprised at just how the news gathering process and PR work these days.
Great PR and media relations efforts have changed with the times, just as the news cycle and media companies have. It’s all about content, relevancy, access and smart PR practices. And sometimes it’s just good timing.
Journalists need content now more than ever. The digital age and technology have helped both journalists and PR pros. How and where content comes from hasn’t. Good stories about people, companies and trends feed a 24/7 news cycle. If the story has visual elements and video, that’s even better. The more content we can offer, the better. Options are always good.
Gone are the days when a PR/media relations professional has to meet face-to-face with a reporter to pitch a story or line up an interview with a top executive. A strong pitch is as simple as a well-written, short email to a reporter with a clear subject line. Doing the legwork for a reporter is appreciated by most journalists. Giving context to a story is part of the process.
Press releases, media alerts and pitches are part of the PR package that journalists expect. And in a busy news cycle or at a smaller publication/website, some press releases are printed as submitted, so ensuring there is a strong headline and top-notch quote from an executive is critical.
Like journalists, PR pros are always looking for great stories. Journalists also enjoy having a story first or getting an “exclusive” interview with a CEO who in the past has been media-shy.
PR pros who are valued are the ones who build rapport with journalists and who keep up with the trends and changes in the industry, and know the tight deadlines.
The rapport-building done by PR pros may include reaching out to a reporter/editor to offer a congratulations when you see they just won an award or other accolade. This gesture is one people remember. Staying in contact even when there isn’t a pitch or press release coming is a rule to live by.
When a journalist is looking for sources for a story, they’re more apt to go to a PR professional who is accessible and who can line up interviews that sometimes happen at the last minute. As long as a PR pro is accessible, responsive, and delivers what they promise, a journalist isn’t concerned about where the PR pro works from or what time zone they live in. They just want results and content that’s relevant and accurate.
PR isn’t just about getting headlines or press for a client. It’s also about being a sounding board or member of the team. Being part of a strategic communications meeting or marketing retreat means being part of the conversation, and that your opinion is valued and respected. You’re an extension of your client’s team. PR is about helping your client build brand awareness and knowing when to comment or stay the course – and not get pulled into a news story.
All headlines are not created equal. A personnel announcement about a new associate is nice, but a profile by a respected publication that then can be shared on social media and LinkedIn takes it one step further.
All companies and brands want great PR and they want it consistently. As long as the results are coming in, the question of where the PR professional sits isn’t relevant or even discussed. Doing your homework, knowing the media markets, and making contact with key journalists and media influencers takes time and is worth the investment.
The next big story is just an email, text or phone call away.