Public relations: many people think it’s world navigated by social butterflies who have friends they can call on for media favours.
Surprise! It’s not.
Media relations is about more than connections. Sure, relationships help — they might get your email opened — but they won’t get you results.
Successfully helping clients tell their stories in the media means knowing what story to tell, how and when to tell it, and who (and who not) to tell it to. And doing that requires having your finger on the pulse of the media landscape, having a keen interest in the industry you’re working in, and having some trial and error under your belt.
It’s this deft touch that often gets overlooked. If you’re bombarding the wrong audience with the wrong story (usually one that is too self-promotional), not only will it get you nowhere, it will get you blocked by journalists. The ‘spray and pray’ approach — which means casting a wide net and hoping something sticks — is a popular approach in PR, but is a waste of time and it screams lazy.
As PR professionals, we need to respect our recipients’ inboxes. If your press release — or better yet, your tailored pitch — isn’t timely and compelling, do yourself a favour and don’t hit send until it is.
Paying attention to the details may land you in journalists’ good books — but it still doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be heading out for cocktails with your new-found journalist bud, where you can ask them to slip in a mention of your client in their next article.
Media relations is about creating stories that only your clients can tell and that help make journalists’ job easier. That’s how we build credibility in the industry. Not by calling in favours.