27th June 2021
8th September 2011 - Give journalists what they want
The primary objective of any public relations press campaign is to raise awareness of your client, their products or their services by securing positive news coverage that is relevant to the target audience you are trying to reach.
But the problem for many PR agencies is that they are coming under increasing pressure from CEOs and management teams to use their press releases exclusively as a marketing tool without any regard to their actual news value.
They view their press releases as sales collateral rather than a legitimate way to raise their profile by providing the public with stimulating news and information about their company or interesting developments in their industry.
Yet they forget that PR is completely different from advertising in that you are not forcing people to read your messages, but instead people are choosing to read them of their own free will.
This is exactly what makes PR such a powerful marketing tool. It is the perceived third-party credibility you get when someone voluntarily publishes your messages rather than prints them in return for payment.
Therefore one of the most important skills in PR is knowing how to press the right buttons with journalists, so that they choose to cover your story in favour of the hundreds of other press releases that are competing for their attention.
And if there’s is one way to describe how you should go about this then it is quite simply to give journalists what they want.
The fundamental purpose of their job is to find stories that their audience wants to read. So it shouldn’t take much to realise that they’re not really interested in general promotional claptrap and self-congratulation. All they want is good stories that are of genuine news value and relevant to their readership.
So instead of succumbing to the temptation to do precisely what the client says, you will often be doing them a better service by speaking out and reminding them from time to time just exactly how public relations works.
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