When companies tell me they haven’t had good luck with PR in the past, the first question I ask is: How often did you reach out to the media? Who was assigned to own media outreach?
Typically, they don’t know the answer to either question, which in itself is quite telling. Building relationships with media is a nurturing process that requires a steady, planned approach. Issuing news releases and reaching out intermittently, sporadically, or haphazardly doesn’t work. It’s kind of like when a friend calls only when they want something. How does that make you feel?
Create a master calendar of news release topics and feature story opportunities you’ve identified on your target publication lists’ editorial calendars. A steady drip approach will not only help media keep up with what your company is doing, but also will demonstrate earnestness in building a relationship.
If you’re not sure about an editorial opportunity, ask the writer about the approach/angle. Think about it and follow up with information that meets the writer’s needs. There are oodles of topics for news releases, but keep in mind the news must be of interest to the publication’s audience. Quality over quantity, so steer clear of frivolous press releases. What is appropriate for one media is not of interest to all, so screen your distribution list accordingly or be labeled by your contacts as a pest to be ignored.
Get Over It
Learn how to gracefully handle rejection. Every press release will not get picked up. Every story idea will not be accepted by the first (or last) editor you contact. Be consistently persistent and charming. Reporters are busier than ever. When following up, be sensitive to their time limits.