Journalists hold the key to the success of so many public relations professionals, businesses and organizations. Still, they are not “creatures” we should fear, like Greek gods on Mt. Olympus. They are insightful people wanting to share with their viewers or readers a well-rounded story that is relevant and happening now in his or her community. So why do so many people not understand how to work with them?
Here is my theory. “We” (meaning the collective) only want to push out the story we want to tell. That in itself is all right, if done correctly. So why does everyone feel the need to pontificate and profess their company’s prowess in its market, its industry or with its product? Beating your chest to tell the world about yourself only makes your CEO feel better about what they are doing, not those who will buy or believe your service.
I understand that we professionals need to write to appease our bosses, but you’d make great headway in several ways with the media if you could:
- Leave out the overused adjectives such as “the largest,” “the only” or “the oldest.” Leave that for the boilerplate.
- Find a tie to a national story.
- Find research in your industry or with consumers that is relevant to your product or service and write a lead that way. (Read my blog on well-researched media lists for a better idea of what I mean by this.)
- Step outside your bubble and stop thinking “me” and starting thinking “them.” What do your customers or potential customers want to know?
- Don’t be annoying and call the media to say, “Did you get my release?” Have a purpose to your call (i.e. more information, a client to interview, etc.) and journalists will be more willing to listen to you.
It is not that reporters are gods, they are accessible and open to ideas. However, it is getting harder for communication professionals to listen to their audiences (and sometimes that’s because “the boss” could be related to Zeus).