There is a lack of understanding about PR and how it actually works to secure media coverage and to ignite media attention about your business, brand, event, product or service. The press release, as useful as it is, can also be a hindrance on the profession. PR does not mean press release and the story angle is not what’s in the press release either. This is a common misconception about PR and how media coverage is actually achieved.
PRs that do their job properly, as either in-house practitioners or those in agencies, are strategic in what communication tools they use to get the message out, a press release may only form one of these. PR is about exposure and exposure can be achieved via a wide range of tools anything from stunts to social media, sponsorships to events, and one on one meetings with journalists. All these PR tools provide valuable exposure if delivered in line with client objectives, press releases are part of the process but are not the cornerstone of PR activity. PR can be short and sweet or can be a slow boat – that builds relationships, awareness and brand.
Pitching stories or interviews that fit with a particular media outlet is how a good PR can create around 20 different media hits off one press release. Each media outlet is allocated their own angle and offered this by the PR. This comes from having a strong understanding of what the media are after, how it appeals to their audience, and how it matches their timeframes. It also reflects your understanding and relationship with the media organisation. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. Your media is just as important and valuable as your client. Invest time in them, get to know them what they like and don’t like, how to work a story that hits a chord with them. Don’t waste their time. Provide a service to them. Be honest, transparent, honourable and on time and you will see successful results!
However, before any pitching is done you need to firstly to develop your business as a media friendly organisation. This means that you have the core ingredients available to create a great story. You have trained spokespeople who can add value to a media story or are they highly knowledgeable on topics of media interest including trends, you have great images or videos available shot by a professional, and you have other material that may be of interest to media; research studies, exclusive sketches, or a solid stream or newsworthy events or announcements to reveal by strategically drip feeding this information out for consistent coverage. Whether you need all of these elements will be determined by your PR objectives which will also establish who your target media outlets and demographics are and what tactics need to be implemented to reach these groups.
There is a lot that happens behind the scenes in PR that does not necessarily covert into actual ‘publicity’ results in terms of a news story. A PR campaign can still be hugely successful without copious amounts of media coverage if the objectives in the beginning were focused on different areas of exposure.
PR does not mean press release and PR is not only media coverage!
by Cathy Gray , PR Manager at Gray Management Group (PR Agency) www.graymanagementgroup.com.au