Hiring a PR firm is a big investment in your organization and its people, and when you find the right fit the anticipation of that first big win feels imminent. So, what happens when you’ve been at it for a few weeks and your phone isn’t buzzing with media requests? Does that mean you made the wrong choice… picked the wrong firm? Likely not. Like anything else, an alignment of goals and proper communication can ensure that the organization/PR firm relationship is a long-term success. That’s why we make it a point to address a few big myths at the start of every engagement.
- We can “pull strings” with our journalist friends to get coverage.
The term “media relations” was coined for a reason. Journalists need to be able to rely on trusted sources for accurate and timely information. Like any level of trust, this relationship is fed and nurtured over time. So, while PR professionals strive to create a strong rapport with a journalist that will serve well for years to come, we cannot force them to cover an announcement or an event on behalf of a client. Doing so not only damages the relationship, but the credibility and potentially the organization’s reputation. We know when to push and when not to. It’s never a good idea to force it.
- Top tier press should always be the priority.
Everyone wants the coveted slots on CNBC or Bloomberg or a quote in the Wall Street Journal. But how do we get there? While some organizations will find natural inroads with market-moving news or analysis, others may need to take a more measured route. Take it from Rally Point’s founders and two former CNBC producers, John and Dorian: trade publications matter. Producers scour the local and industry news daily to find the stories that are ripe to elevate for prime time. Don’t discount the impact of any publication, and treat each opportunity with the respect and preparation it deserves. Today’s beat reporter could be tomorrow’s newsroom editor.
- Messaging doesn’t matter.
We start every engagement with a messaging workshop for a reason: words matter. Not only do words matter, but storytelling evolves over time and through experience. What worked last year might not be resonating in this new season. Our time-tested method distills the proof points that will resonate with various audiences, and cuts through the fluffy language that tends to put people to sleep. Before each and every interview, we encourage our clients to review the standard messaging framework to ensure they are consistent in their communication – and to always have some additional piece of news to share or tease at the end when asked what else they care to speak about. So often interviewees throw away this crucial opportunity. Our advice: know what you want to say, and how you want to keep the conversation going for the next time.
- Media coverage should be immediate.
Although the news cycle is nonstop, we often advise clients to sit tight for the first few weeks of the engagement before opportunities start bubbling up. It’s not because our team hasn’t gotten to work right away, it’s because we’re busy building the machine before it can fly. Determining targets, researching angles, reviewing trends, making introductory notes, and compiling the foundational documents that will help an organization truly shine takes time and effort. Like you’ve always heard, good things come to those who wait.
- Beware being your own publicist.
Social media has created many self-made publicists out of industry experts… if they care to feed their channels with commentary and react to breaking news. For those with lots to say on interesting topics, this will be a boon to reporters who are looking for directly sourced relationships, and likely to organizations who are curious as to why they might need a firm when inbound leads are flowing. But beware going the route on your own, or disregarding the expertise that a seasoned PR pro can bring. As they say, the internet never forgets, and ensuring that your team of experts can help strategize on the approach, coach through the interview and be on-hand for crisis situations is key.
Have we changed your mind?
So often, public relations is made to look easy but that’s far from the truth. Like you, we eagerly anticipate the first of a series of major wins as we build your voice and position across your market and celebrate your successes. Perhaps unlike you, we understand that it may take a bit of time to get there. Be patient and trust the process.