Some Thoughts on Media Relations

When I was thinking about doing PR work, I had coffee with a woman whose daughter had attended school with my daughter. This woman is a high-ranking member of a major local PR firm that does a lot of work in the field of internal communications.

I mentioned that I wanted to focus on getting media coverage for clients. After a lifetime in media, dealing with talented and not-so-talented PR types, I figured I should give it a try.

My high-ranking friend told me that most PR pros hate doing media relations. I asked why. She indicated that it’s frustrating work for some because of unreturned phone calls, unanswered emails, difficult media members and high rejection levels to pitches for coverage.

Turns out she was right, sort of. Have I had media members say no to pitches that were perfect for their media venues? Have I had people fail to return calls or respond to my emails? Have I found certain gatekeepers or media members to be inconsistent in their wants and needs? Yes, yes and yes. But it’s okay, because I do the same thing when I’m on the media side. I have empathy.

I’ve received many long-winded voicemail messages and verbose pitches for things I know are of little or no interest to audience members. Some are just totally wrong-headed, like the person who wanted me to interview a business owner because he had succeeded without doing any advertising! I replied, “Do you have any idea how we make our money here?”

I know media folk who spend a significant amount of time each day deleting hundreds of emails to get to the few that matter. That’s why I try to get to the point quickly in the emails I send.

Media need content. The content I have may fill a particular need. If what I have today is not exactly what’s needed, I’ll be back sometime soon. By the way, I’m happy to make those calls and send those emails (and do follow-ups).








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