Monday, February 15, 2010
Part 2: The Pressures of PR in 2010
Clients want coverage, of course. That’s how they most often measure the return on their investment, but when they don’t take the media’s needs into account and emphasize press releases over targeted story pitches or newswires instead of exclusives, they are putting their PR professionals into a box and, therefore, confining the reach and results of their own campaigns.
As your agency, we work on media relationships continually, we study the media landscape, and we identify coverage trends to ensure we’re able to be most effective for you. We understand the need to do more with less, but we cannot afford to shortchange any of our relationships or cut corners on best practices in our interactions with others on your behalf.
To understand the pressures of PR in 2010, we’ve collected below, in their own words, what journalists expect from PR professionals today. With thousands of pitches coming at them every week, trust us when we say that you cannot succeed with cookie cutter approaches, un-researched pitches or weak news angles.
And if you haven’t already, we also suggest you read Part 1 of this two-part post on the challenges journalists are facing today as well as our previous post about what makes a good story. After you’ve read through these comments, please share with us below whether this re-affirms what you already knew about PR or if it has caused you to adjust your perceptions.
NATIONAL BUSINESS NEWSPAPER:
"If you're pitching a small startup that's not publicly traded, tell me why it's part of a bigger trend. Product pitches aren't likely to succeed. I don't really care for press releases announcing a new product debut at a conference or trade show.”
"It must be something done by a big company or an action of a small firm that affects the bigger players. I don't want product announcements or minor management activity."
"The best PR pros are candid. In these difficult economic times, I still expect truthful answers to questions about a lack of funding or other problems. Don't be overly aggressive and keep trying to pitch deals I am not interested in."
"I never do a story based on a single pitch about a company, person or product. The best PR pros frame their pitch as part of a trend."
"I would cover a show that a celebrity is appearing in, but I wouldn't write about a charity that person is promoting. I prefer exclusive pitches, but they don't have to be just for me. However, I don't want something that's already been exclusive to someone else."
NATIONAL TV NEWS BUREAU:
"I look for character-driven topics with really amazing people. I want exclusives. Don't pitch my show if you're also trying to be on other networks too. Links to video of your client is very helpful. I can also use b-roll."
NATIONAL NEWS MAGAZINE:
"The best PR people provide exclusive information and a unique angle to the story. We'd never write about a particular product and sometimes get those types of pitches. It's obvious when PR people don't read the publication and suggest things we'd never cover."
NATIONAL FINANCIAL NEWSWIRE:
"Give me a unique insight into what you do and give us access to people who aren't normally available for interviews. If we won't use the pitch, we'll let you know quickly, so you can offer it elsewhere. Don't include us in shotgun blasts that go out to everyone.”
MAJOR MARKET DAILY NEWSPAPER:“"I don't do stories about individuals hired to run a company. I want to be connected with experts who have knowledge of a specific issue in the news. Don't be cute. Be succinct. Tell me in the pitch what the news is. Don't pitch me ‘Joe Blow' who can talk about the economy or the markets."