Getting Ink

Public relations may be a process, but clients too often only want to see results. The challenge for PR professionals is to quickly deliver headlines while building a foundation that allows us to provide long-term value that can only come from truly knowing our clients’ business – and not just their industry.

It takes time to understand your client’s business, their status and role in their industry, and how they can impact their customers. While we are educating ourselves so that we can speak intelligently about our clients to the media, the proverbial “media relations clock” has already begun ticking. For better or worse, public relations professionals are typically measured by the number of media hits they score for their clients.

Today, press releases are becoming more of a formality and less of a source for media to publish news. If you wait for the next company press release to help you get that feature article, you might be waiting for a long time. While most industries have under-staffed media outlets that simply publish press releases on a web site, most respected publications that drive thought leadership don’t want to simply regurgitate company news. They want to report on how organizations are using new technology, handling the latest trend or tackling new challenges.

Below are four areas that I have found help me the most when I need to generate news for a new client or just need to do a media refresh with an existing client. Of course, you start with learning the industry, but the goal should be to understand and clearly communicate your client’s specific value in the industry.

  1. Identify your client’s industry trends and challenges and then learn how your client can/does address these issues. A thought-leadership blog post or a bylined article idea may come about when you do.
  2. Understand what motivates a customer to seek out your client’s products or services. In addition to a thought-leadership article, webinar topics often are gleaned when you understand customer intentions.
  3. Find out what objections a customer may have to using your client’s products or services. You can then address these objections in a bylined article or begin a conversation with a key group on LinkedIn.
  4. Learn what your client does well and find out why their customers continue to use their products or services. A customer case study goes a long way in helping to show that your client’s products or services are a “must have” and not just a “nice to have.”

While there is no magic recipe for media relations success, PR professionals will greatly increase their chances of getting ink if they take the time to not just know what press release is being distributed next, but actually understand how that news impacts their client and its stakeholders.

By Kerri Moran – March 14, 2012

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