PR and the Media: Help Me Help You
Dear PR folks: How many times have you received a note from a client or colleague that said: “This person just wrote about our competitor (or market, whatever). Please send them a note in response.”
Um… NO! Once a journalist has written about a topic or product, the last thing they want is for a PR person to send a note that says: “I saw your article… we do that too!” By that time, it’s too late.
Part of your job is to stay on top of the topics reporters cover and help them develop their story. You are a resource so be a resource!
If you’re in a particular space, you should know who your beat editors are and be in constant contact with RELEVANT information. Do not bombard them with meaningless company news that isn’t newsworthy. They do not care that you hired a new receptionist. Remember, you are helping them develop stories that are interesting to THEIR audience. Just because your company is excited about a new hire, doesn’t mean that an outlet’s audience cares. Take a step back and ask yourself: “If I didn’t work for this company/client, would I really care about this news?" If you don’t, then who would? Investors? Consumers? Verticals? Once you have your answer, then you know who to reach out to specifically.
I once heard a PR professional say to cast your net far and wide. I don’t exactly agree with that statement. Sure, if you have a product or service that appeals to a variety of audiences, then make sure you’re hitting all appropriate targets, but don’t blast everyone on your media list for quantity’s sake. You’ll only tick off the multitudes of journalists who constantly ask PR professionals to read their articles and understand their respective beats.
It’s about quality: quality of media for you and quality of information for them. Be prepared and responsive. Know your product. Keep your message clear and concise. Be a resource, not a pesky pain in the arse.