Our industry is in an exciting time with technological innovations. However, an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Your PR Efforts May Be Hurting You” reminds us how we still need to approach traditional media and teach upcoming pr students to appreciate the relationship-based aspect of public relations. I found most of the article’s statements to be true. Most students of PR do not build relationships with the media. They also don’t take the time to learn about the company they are pitching for. The first time you meet with a company, you need to ask A LOT of questions. You also need to know about your company’s overall industry. Most PR firms are successful when they have a niche like lifestyle or represent healthcare companies. This allows a firm to become industry experts. Our firm uses wire service but very strategically. In addition to this method it’s key to follow up with reporters. Some PR people don't follow up when a reporter calls or after sending a press release. Especially during a crisis situation, the reporter's deadline is priority.
While we are in age with advanced communication tools like social networking, video chat and smartphones, relationships still matter in public relations. Here’s how you successfully build relationships with both traditional and digital media writers:
1. Reporters are people too. They have families, busy schedules just like we do. Get to know them.
2. Reporters are not out to get you.
3. Answer reporter's calls.
4. Help them when you don't have skin in the game (a story).
5. Follow Up.