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.
“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.
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.
Data from Gallup shows that confidence in newspapers and TV news are at an all-time low, and as PR professionals this should be concerning for a number of reasons.
In Part I of this series, "Setting the Trap," we looked at a real example of a company that fell for the interview trap, not once, but twice! What fundamental error did the CEO make? She agreed to do taped interviews. By providing 20 or 30 minutes of dialogue for the producers to slice and dice according their agendas, she just gave them more rope to hang her. As a long-time veteran of national TV news revealed, “If we are going to go to the trouble and expense of taping and editing an interview to fit into a news story, it’s because we’ve already determined what the story is going to be and we’re just looking for quotes – or pieces of quotes – to support it.”
Your organization is in full crisis management mode. Armed with legal counsel and a communications strategy, it's time for your CEO to speak to the media. During a taped TV news interview, she hits all the right notes - staying on message, bridging to key points and projecting a calm, but concerned, demeanor. You and your staff rejoice - crisis controlled!
For those who came of public relations age in an era when “desk-side visits” to editors ensconced in high-ceilinged offices in midtown Manhattan were the key component of media outreach, the answer to the question “how to conduct a media tour?” has evolved radically over the past few decades.
A media tour today is still an important tactic in executing a PR strategy, but it is not a be-all or end-all in itself. First of all, the notion of going to New York City for such a “tour” is unlikely to be necessary for all but a few industries, such as fashion, retail or finance. The citadels of journalism along 6th Avenue have largely emptied out or at least changed enough so that they are no longer must-visit locations.
An opportunity to represent your organization in the media can be rewarding as well as unnerving. It's safe to say that we live in age of unabashed skepticism - by the meida and toward the media - so the opportunity must be very skillfully exploited.
The Best of Boston
Last month, a team from Boyle Public Affairs travelled to Boston for the world's largest content marketing conference, Hubspot’s "Inbound 2016." There, we joined over 19,000 other enthusiastic marketers to learn the latest in inbound technologies and methodologies and to be entertained by speakers such as Alec Baldwin, Serena Williams, Anna Kendrick and The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.