Media relations, from the perspective of a journalist and a PR professional, are very different. However, they can both agree on one thing: it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. PR professionals are offering journalists a story idea that sheds light on the PR professional’s client. Journalists develop it into a compelling and unique narrative that keeps their readers engaged and informed. Whether you are just joining the industry or are a seasoned veteran, Motion has some essential “must-knows” about PR professionals and journalists to help cultivate relationships.
1. PR professionals have incredible tools, but forget sometimes how to use them.
While tools like Cision arm you with contacts from thousands of publications around the world, that doesn’t mean you should be emailing all of them! Take a moment to research whom you are targeting. Perhaps you are pitching a story about student loan debt. Research beat reporters who regularly write about higher education or problems with debt in modern day society.
2. Journalists DO check the general news desk email.
Believe it or not, the best way to get a story in an editor’s or news director’s hand might be by emailing the general news desk. Staff writers and reporters are checking constantly for that golden nugget to take to their next assignment meeting. Don’t knock it till you try it!
3. What is 9-5?
News never sleeps and neither do we! Just kidding. While we do still get our zzz’s, the industry we are in does not always mean a typical 9-5 workday. Often a PR and journalist relationship is long distance and you need to accommodate schedules. Or a crisis arises and you must respond promptly. We can’t predict news but we can help guide it in the right direction.
4. We know all too well about internships and networking.
Internships open many doors in our industry and sometimes it takes a few internships before your first full-time gig. Not to mention, internships have helped us become pros in networking. Never forget the people you meet in this industry – whether you grabbed them a coffee a few times or filed their paperwork – they could be your connection to a huge opportunity.
5. Our mobile phones are our lifelines.
We are ready to respond at any time – email, call or text. We have several news apps and alerts to keep us aware. We have the trendiest apps and social networking sites. Our phones aren’t an accessory; they are a way of life!
6. We both hate FAKE news!
You know that familiar phrase “fake it till you make it”? Bad idea. PR professionals and journalists excel at creative and lateral thinking – they take a simple news item and give it that “oomph!” They do not deliver fake news. Sometimes the story in front of them isn’t as glamorous as the others. But rather than falsify the information to give it that extra spice, they determine unique story angles and interesting research to support the idea.
7. We work hard to meet deadlines.
Meeting deadlines is critical to our success. PR professionals have deadlines from their clients and journalists have deadlines from their editors. No matter what, we meet them.
8. Journalists aren’t perfect!
There are times in which the information published in an article isn’t necessarily correct – mistakes happen! Neither the journalist nor the PR person wants to provide the public with false information. All it takes is a quick email and professional communication to make the quick fix.
9. Breaking news happens.
And it cannot be controlled. Subjects like severe weather events, politics, sports, national crime and many others can infringe on the segment planned to run. That doesn’t mean it will never run. Journalists try hard to find a later time or even provide their viewers with an online version of the story. If you are a PR person, see if there is an opportunity for follow-up coverage!
10. We love what we do.
Sometimes we want to pull our hair out, toss our phones in the toilet or smash our computer on the ground. Sometimes we don’t get enough sleep. But our constant hard work comes from the passion that we have in what we do, which shows in our results. And at the end of the day, we love what we do.