It’s not what you know…or is it?

What is media relations really? Is it maintaining strong relationships with local, regional and even national media contacts? Or is it scouring the newspapers, magazines, Internet sites, TV stations, radio stations and all the other outlets out there, until you find a reporter?

To answer that, let me take you back to Auburn University, in Rick Smith’s Mass Communications class. Rick said, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. Now, I, and your other professors will teach you the ‘what,’ but it’s up to you to find the who.”

As PR pros, it is our job to know to whom we are pitching our ideas. Schroder PR prides itself on having strong media contacts. I have met reporters and editors through the firm, my colleagues, through clubs and organizations in which I am involved and even Twitter! I also utilize our subscription to the database of thousands of reporters to find which beats reporters cover and how they liked to be contacted.

Part of the ‘what’ is knowing what the ‘who’ is writing. As Bailee wrote in “Reader of the News,” we are constantly reading publications, websites and any other news sources out there to keep updated with reporters’ works.

Another part of the ‘what’ that I’ve learned at SPR is having a complete story and messaging. We know what is and is not interesting, and so do reporters. Don’t pitch reporters with untimely or boring subjects!

So, does Schroder PR get hired for media relations based solely on our relationships with reporters? No. Do we get hired because we subscribe to every eNewsletter and paper, and read/watch/listen to as many outlets as we can? I don’t think so. I think we understand that media relations is, simply put, not only about who, but also about what you know.…read the full article here.

Visiting PR clients in person should be an easy task, but sometimes it takes that old Southern charm

Common sense would tell you that clients who hire you as their PR consultant would want to meet with you face-to-face on a regular basis, but we’ve learned that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you just have to knock on their doors – several times – and take food.

We have had clients who were just too busy to meet. One hired us to launch several campaigns and paid us for months before they were able to meet with us. We were handcuffed, not able get started until they provided us needed information, in person.

“Food,” I told my PR team in the huddle. “We must take them food.”

So we got up early the next morning and went by our neighborhood Einstein’s Bagels and ordered a dozen bagels, cream cheese and coffee and charmed our way into the office of the marketing contact who had proven especially elusive.

For other clients who were equally reluctant to meet, we offered an upgraded version of that same strategy. These two clients were always too busy to meet, continually refusing our requests to go out for coffee or to join us at a weekend Falcons football.

We ordered lunch and blackberry cobbler for several dozen employees who were working away inside my clients’ offices. We gave the clients one day’s warning and showed up early, filling their buildings with irresistible aromas. Finally, the handful of executives whom we had specifically targeted drifted in and sat down with us for nearly 45 minutes, talking about how we could get things back on track.

Nevertheless, at one of the clients, the president never did actually sit down with us or eat our lunch, though he did stand nearby and chatted amiably with us until he was called away for a phone call. As the rest of us enjoyed our blackberry cobbler, I told the marketing executive I’d prepare a plate for the president and take it to his office, but she warned me not to bother.

“He doesn’t eat,” she said. “He just works.”

And on that day, at least, he also met – with us…read the full article here.