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Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

Have You Reviewed Your Media Relations Strategy Lately?

I’ve just started reading Making News: A Straight-shooting Guide to Media Relations by David Henderson and can understand his desire to provide a guide for all ranks of the PR trade, from the newest practitioner to the seasoned professional. Although it was published in 2006, the book is still relevant for PR folks today.

Henderson incorporates extensive research and interviews with over one hundred journalists and media professionals from all over the globe into the book. His approach is fairly simple: What advice media professionals have for PR folks to improve their media relations and increase their chances of exposure? The book walks you through several scenarios, principles and practices that are backed by many media leaders with insider tips for better relationships with them and their media colleagues.

The added bonus to this book is that Henderson himself has spent his life on both sides of the spectrum.

As a new graduate and someone who hasn’t had extensive media relations training, I can appreciate and learn a lot from Henderson and this book. The book sparked this question from me: Why are we as PR folks reluctant to make personal contact with journalists or reporters such as a phone call? I know this sounds like a broad generalization, and it isn’t meant to be, but this is a trend among those interviewed in the book. Are you sending out your releases to hundreds of journalists hoping for a placement or are you taking the time to target specific journalists who cover what you’re communicating and learn their preferred contact methods?

A point from the book I’ve also been thinking about is that the media folks complain that PR people aren’t providing solid news angles in their releases or pitches.  I can see this. I’ve read many releases that don’t actually say anything. As PR people, we are charged with several duties, one being the ability to find a great story about our client or organization and tell it in many different ways. Are we getting away from this somehow?

One more quick question: Are you monitoring media’s trends (not trends in the media) to make sure you are current with your approaches?

This post is more or less my thoughts on media relations and the current state of media relations practices among PR firms and departments. If it sounds like I’m bashing the PR field, I’m not. I love PR, but I want to be an effective media relations practitioner for any organization I work for and to make sure our field earns the respect it deserves. If nothing else,  maybe this will reinforce the need to understand our media counterparts as much as we understand our clients and their audiences. Keep in mind that although social media allows us to bypass the mainstream media in many ways, social media isn’t going to eliminate the MSM altogether.

Hopefully this will get some folks to take a second and think about their media relations practices, for change or for reassurance. Any ideas on this?

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