Why the survival of public relations depends on a partnership with the press
Similar to many parts of public relations, the relationship between members of the media and communicators is constantly evolving. In addition, this relationship is crucial for the survival of our industry.–you could say that public relations professionals need members of the media more than they need us.
Unfortunately, media personnel are finding less and less value in their inbox of public relations professionals. If nothing changes, editors, editors and journalists will simply turn off the tap. Accordingly, it is our responsibility to give members of the media what they need: a powerful, less-is-more pitch approach.
To contextualize why it is the duty of the public relations professional to proactively equip members of the media with relevant, fleshed-out and valuable stories, we simply need to examine the landscape of journalism.
While many media outlets have downsized over the past 20 years, some have begun to provide thought leadership space for industry leaders. In cases where these experts pay for visibility, the publisher has a double incentive. The publisher saves money on copywriters or freelancers and earns income from opinion leaders.
Therefore, fewer journalists are needed. Plus, they tend to operate on small budgets. Journalists need our support and we cannot exist without theirs.
So how can we support media friends while providing meaningful coverage for the companies we represent? Here are some starting points:
Leverage your skills
Develop impactful messages that communicate core values. Imagine multi-faceted scenarios or topical angles. Ask essential questions and train media executives while creating a comprehensive FAQ. This creates a veritable treasure trove of valuable (and branded) information to strategically position executives as useful sources.
Know your targets when building media lists
When building relationships, don’t just rely on a journalist’s bio–dig deeper through the platforms. Look for personal social accounts to better understand their pace (s), interests, tone and style. This extra effort to personalize and add value through your placements goes a long way.
Never spam, explode or overload
Pitching and praying will tarnish your reputation (and that of your business). In addition, it will hamper the relationships with journalists that you should have. Remember that journalists are people with a documented interest in certain topics, trends or industries. Tailor each communication point accordingly and be sure to research before pressing “Send”.
Submit completed articles and full multimedia storytelling
If your goal is to get a company’s message to the right audiences in a way that best reflects the business, there’s no rule that says you can’t write the final copy. Working in partnership with the press sometimes means helping to write and polish the content on time.
Train and train your staff in journalistic writing
Some colleges no longer adequately train students on this side of the media coverage barrier. As a result, a commitment to storytelling excellence must come at the industry level. So, insist on excellence in writing. For example, you might consider having an in-house editor and copywriter for each external communication.
The future of our profession depends on a proactive partnership with the press if we have any hope of keeping the PR industry alive. We must remain the link between business and the media if we are to tell their stories in an effective and scalable way.
So, think about media relations. Prioritize relationship building equally with closing coverage. Additionally, establish best practices for the future that inspire peers to step up alongside us.
Nicole rodrigues is CEO and founder of the NRPR group