A great deal has already been said and written about the interdependence of media and the PR industry. In your professional capacity as a PR representative, you will know about the importance of email etiquette while sending across a press release to the media. You will be familiar with the ‘dos and don’ts’ to take in consideration while dispatching relevant and newsworthy press releases. But significant results are only generated when you know your media. This means fully understanding their preferred area of coverage, the make-up of the editorial team and – more specifically – the principal journalist you will be dealing with.
Reporters do their homework before sitting down with a person for an interview. A PR agent approaches the dynamic from the other end of the spectrum. They will probably be fully au fait with the interviewee as their client, but they may not fully understand the media company or the interviewer who will be asking the questions. In short, the PR professional needs to know both the client and the media.
This is where research comes in play. As a PR agent, you should research as much as possible about the publication or media channel you are targeting before sending them a press release. This drives a positive message. If the media should consider your press release important and create a newsworthy article along the lines of it, the PR agency should in turn, consider the publication important.
The following occurs when you know your media well….
You learn who the right person is to contact and who should be your primary option through possessing a full grasp of each publication’s frequency, circulation and readership.
You establish a personal relationship with the journalists and editors. This solid partnership underpins a positive media/PR future.
You come across as a competent and confident individual who is fully aware of your contact’s work. Instead of sending a press release with a request for the journalist to run the story, you send the release with a small note that mentions how well written you thought their last news article was. See the difference?
You will learn to avoid sending across press releases to publications that specialise in a specific field unrelated to your client’s sphere of interest. A food and dining magazine will probably not run a story on your client’s football academy (unless of course your brilliant PR flair can find that unique angle that ties food to sporting prowess!) A good knowledge of your media gives you the skill to deduce the relevant placement sections in publications.
You cut down on wasting time through not spending valuable minutes and hours on fruitless pitches to editors who do not cover the areas of your client’s concerns. You are able to finish your tasks within the deadline and minimise errors… all because you KNOW your media inside and out!
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” – Daniel J. Boorstin.