Musings of a PR Professional

Relationships enable exposure

If someone were to ask me to define public relations in one word I would say: relationships.

Today in our PRinciples class, we had two guest speakers come in a talk to us about media relations. Kim Banks of Simko Communications and John Gouch of Clemson University’s news services spent our 75 minute class giving us special insight on how to create and send out news releases in the most effective way possible. Pretty much every PR person’s goal at some point is to get as much media coverage as possible, right? That’s true to an extent.

Both Banks and Gouch continually stressed the importance of building relationships with media. Journalists, reporters, editors and everyone else in a gatekeeper position is extremely valuable to a PR practitioner, and it is important to let them know that. Reporters don’t care about the PR practitioners client, they care about their beat, what they’re interested in writing about, and what their audience wants to hear about. So, that’s what the PR practitioner has to be interested in too.

It is absolutely imperative that PR people listen to reporters, journalists, editors. Go out to lunch/coffee/dinner/tea with them without an agenda and learn about who they are as people. The better you know these people, the more likely it is that your news release will get published.

So make friends! The more you know about your media gatekeepers the better you are able to cater to them. Seek out the people you know will be interested in the story you are trying to get published. As Banks said very poignantly, “It’s a give and take.”