An important element in almost every public relations campaign or strategy is to consider how you’ll deal with the media. Contrary to what many people believe about PR, we aren’t actively plotting how to get our clients into the media every waking second of the day. As I remarked to a business leader in Winnipeg last week, half of the time we’re counselling clients on how to stay out of the media and the other half we’re figuring out ways to get them in. Â That’s a bit simplistic, but it isn’t far from the truth.
When we’re talking to clients about gaining publicity, we often have to discuss what exactly news organizations are looking for. Too frequently clients (even sophisticated and intelligent ones) give us an advertisement and ask us to pitch it as news. That’s almost never going to work because reporters, editors, news directors and bloggers see right through it.
We work with our clients to try to sculpt those stories so they’re relevant to reporters and writers. Job one for us is to understand what kind of stories news outlets are looking for and who their audiences are. Then we package our client’s story in the most relevant way possible. Usually, that means making it as local as possible.
It’s not too difficult to pitch stories to Winnipeg news outlets about Winnipeg success stories. But that same success story better be pretty amazing if we think the same pitch is going to get them on Canada AM or some other national media outlet. Most of the time, when we’re actively pitching stories, we need to work hard to make sure the stories are hitting the mark… here in Manitoba, across Canada or internationally.