This seems like a fairly straightforward question and one we hear from potential clients all the time. And it should be a fairly straightforward answer, particularly if you are an accomplished PR practitioner, right? Not always. Since the beginning of our agency’s life, Young & Associates has maintained strong relationships with technology, business and many vertical trade reporters in HR, local search, marketing/media/advertising, higher ed, etc. Those relationships have proven to be very successful for the agency, our clients and dare I say, the reporters.
But, should a company hire a PR agency based solely on its network? Absolutely not. Reporters come and go, relationships change and the newsroom’s needs evolve frequently in the age of digital. Nailing a high profile story in any publication comes down to four key things:
Complete Story and Messaging – Is your storyline new and interesting? What’s different and compelling about the company or subject matter expert’s POV? Can you offer supporting data points and a client that illustrates your position? Regardless if the reporter is your drinking buddy after hours or you just pitched him or her for the first time, the reporter can’t and won’t do anything with a stale, self-serving piece.
Timing – Hooking a pitch to a timely news event helps a reporter push it forward as a compelling and newsy item to their editor. If you are tying it to a trending topic, make sure you are able to push out your company’s POV within 24-48 hours from the event.
Tenacity – Even if you know the reporter and have the greatest pitch in the world, sometimes the stars just don’t align. Following up with the reporter to discuss the topic and their needs and offering an alternative angle suggestion will often lead to a placement and help further establish you and the company as a go-to resource in the future.
A Little Bit of Luck – Yep, I said it. Sometimes, the best laid plans go awry or unnoticed. In the end, a little luck can save the day.