Why you don’t need a press release
PR people hear this dreaded phrase from clients all the time: “We need a press release.”
No, you don’t. You need relationships, because professional relationships with media translate into stories.
Notice that I said professional relationships. The fact that your neighbor works at a TV station or magazine does not mean that your story is going to get on the air or be published, especially if your neighbor works in sales. The news business doesn’t work that way.
That’s why people hire PR professionals, experts who have longtime relationships with decision-makers such as anchors, producers, reporters and assignment editors – the people who have a say in selecting a news or feature story.
The decision-makers can vary, depending on the story you’re trying to place and the type of relationships you have. For instance, for a morning talk show, you usually pitch your idea to a producer, but if you have a great relationship with the anchor, that may be a better option.
But it’s a delicate game, and you need to know the players. Knowing what’s acceptable and what’s downright annoying requires knowledge gleaned from years spent working with journalists or – better yet – working as a journalist.
A reporting background gives you the edge, because it helps build skills (and relationships) that are useful when you join the ranks of PR pros. Having worked at daily newspapers, I not only befriended the people in my newsroom, but bonded with reporters from other media during school board meetings, news conferences, elections, fires and other stories. It was great fun.
When I became a PR person, my role changed, but the skills needed to do my job well did not. I still develop unique story ideas, come up with compelling visuals, ask probing questions and work with reporters every day.
And I still enjoy my job tremendously.
For more on media relations, visit https://piermancommunications.com/2016/06/13/how-to-succeed-at-media-relations/