All of us in the PR world are always scheming how to “secure coverage” for our clients. While the news merits of a specific pitch – and how that pitch is made – are and forever will remain the best way for a story pitch to be successful, it certainly doesn’t hurt to build and maintain effective working relationship with reporters.
While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is probably most remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in Washington, DC in 1963, his stirring orations began much earlier in his life, going back to when he was an undergraduate student at Morehouse College in Atlanta in the late 1940s.
When I issued an RFP in 2001 to find a firm to handle trade and consumer advertising for Sallie Mae, the Fortune 500 company where I then worked, I didn’t expect it would lead to the finalists becoming two of my enduring friends in the 18 years since.
All of us who have worked for some length of service in public relations have our “stories.” They might be the time we thought nobody would care about a press release, but the story exceeded our low expectations and led a local newscast. Or conversely, the client pitch we hoped might make The New York Times and ended up only as a link on PR Newswire.
“We like the piece. It will go up on our site tomorrow morning and I’ll send you a link.”
For a PR person, there’s no better way to start the day than to receive that kind of short reply from someone whom you’ve pitched an op-ed piece on behalf of one of your clients.
The chances of getting such a reply, of course, are not great. But there are several ways of improving your odds, what I call the five key factors in placing an op-ed in a targeted publication. They are:
No matter where you fall on the political scale, you probably took some comfort last week from the fact that Donald Trump almost – not totally but almost – stopped tweeting for a few days as the nation mourned the loss of our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
For much of this fall, the college admissions world has been gripped by the “Harvard trial.” That phrase has become a shorthand way of describing how a lawsuit brought by Asian-American applicants who were denied admission into the world’s most prestigious institution has turned into something much more.
Income mobility is on the rise according to the U.S. Census Bureau. After stagnating for nearly two decades, the incomes of ordinary American households are finally picking up.
My attending the public release of data last week comparing perceptions of today’s college students by the public and by Beltway insiders brought home to me a larger point – how different and challenging it is to execute on PR support for a client that is successful in meeting goals both inside and outside the Beltway. In some ways, it’s almost like trying to do PR in two separate countries.
For more than 50 years in this country, ever since baby boomers started graduating from high school in the mid-1960s, there has been an assumption that individuals with high school diplomas in hand would follow one of two tracks – college or no college.