How to Properly Connect to the Press as a Public Relations Officer

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Although it seems less common lately , there are still a good number folks
public relations practitioners who enter the business by crossover from the
journalist’s side of the notebook.

When you make that transition, you become something of an oracle.
Colleagues and clients expect you to be the walking, talking answer to the
Rubik’s cube puzzle of the way to gain the eye of the media. If only it were
that simple!

Landing media placements is a minimum of the maximum amount about art because it is science.

But it is also about you and who you’re as a PR person. What did I learn in two
decades of writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and news services?

First of all, a PR pro doesn’t need a journalistic pedigree to succeed with
journalists.

But you are doing need to possess something else: knowledge of what journalists
really want from PR people. I’m not talking about what journalists want from
your story – that’s another subject.

I’m talking about you. does one know what journalists want from you, as the
individual who’s e-mailing, faxing, calling and (too often, I fear) pestering
them?

Here’s my list of attributes which will get you a hearing from journalists
(and that’s all you would like – your story will sink or float on its own merits):

1. Honest brokers

Journalists know PR people have something to market – a corporation , a
product, some extent of view. That’s not the difficulty .

It’s whether the journalist trusts that the story is coming from someone who
won’t waste their time – someone who has invested the trouble to know
them, their organization, their boss, and whether the story might interest the
audience the journalist serves.

Trust is prime – but it is also earned. Becoming an honest broker
requires quite one conversation with a journalist. It requires enough
dialogue that a relationship and a history of honest dealings are often
established.

2. Facilitators

Face it, journalists don’t need to speak to PR people – a minimum of not on the record,
and not as newsmakers.

Good PR practitioners know they are not newsmakers. They recognize that their
role is to form stories happen, not be a part of them. So good PR pros specialise in
being matchmakers, putting journalists along side the sources who make
stories wake up .

For the PR pro, also because the journalist, it’s all about the story. it isn’t about
you, or the institutional challenges you face in making the story happen. It’s
about making the story real. which leads me to what journalists really,
really want from PR practitioners (and what we should always strive to be):

3. Advocates for communication

No journalist wants to affect a PR person who’s primarily unavailable, and
when he or she is out there features a vocabulary limited to phrases like “no
comment.”

All other things being equal (including working for a corporation or a pacesetter
who doesn’t communicate) journalists still give the advantage of the doubt to a PR
person whom they know to be an advocate of communication.

That doesn’t mean someone who’s getting to speak at inappropriate times about
subjects that are not within the best interests of their organization. It means
someone who understands deadlines, editors, the competition and therefore the other
pressures that journalists face while trying to try to to their jobs.

It means someone who understands that the simplest interests of their
organization always include good relationships with the journalism , the
trusted purveyors of independent information for the purchasers , employees,
investors and other audiences that the PR pro wants to succeed in .

In the end, that is what all of media relations is basically about: an honest journalist
and an honest PR pro want to serve their audiences first.

It’s not always possible for journalists and PR pros to realize that objective
from their respective viewpoints in every interaction. But over the course of
time, during a relationship of trust, respect and understanding, honest brokers who
facilitate the story and advocate for communication will achieve landing
media placements.

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