At PR News’ One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars on March 18, Alfred Richard, senior VP of communications and talent strategy at Telemundo, discussed how PR professionals and media reps can work together more effectively. Richard was part of a panel that offered a series of recommendations on enhancing your media relations efforts.
Here are the panel’s eight favorite tactics:
Prepare the right pitch: “PR pros so often end up taking a cookie-cutter approach via distribution services, but the most significant coverage and best quality and relationship you will build is on a meaningful exchange of information with the reporter or editor,” Richard said. “Be as critical as you can be about providing newsworthiness, and be to the point.”
Develop relationships: “Drive-by press pitching in PR doesn't get you too far,” Richard said. “Developing relationships is key, and to do that you must be consistent, authentic and reliable.”
Work through time to become a trusted source: Your credibility and your name are at stake every time you pick up the phone and reach out to reporters. Kevin Gale, editor at the South Florida Business Journal, said that one of the best ways to win a reporter's loyalty is to give them news tips that don't directly relate to you. Kevin gale.
Keep (and update) a Top 10 List: Compile your 10 most important media contacts, print it out and put it up on the wall. “Get to know their needs—the needs of an online journalist are different than the print journalist or broadcast journalist—read everything they write,” Richard said. “Stay in touch, and know that face-time is better than email threads.”
Answer the good and the bad: Migdalia Figueroa, VP of News for WTVJ-Miami, NBC, said she is impressed by one PR pro she works with who takes both the good and the bad inquiries, and is equally responsive to each query.
Don’t hold back on the visuals: “If you have something visual, I would send it with the initial press release to avoid the back and forth,” Gale said. "Anticipate we need [visuals]—we're very into visual storytelling.”
Think like a journalist: Richard said that if you don't put yourself on journalists' side and just think about PR, you will not succeed. “The way I see it is that we PR people are the reporters inside an organization—with a filter, an agenda and a purpose,” Richard said. “It’s up to us to find the news story and get it in the shape it can work for an outlet. That’s why PR is taught alongside journalism.”
Be minfdul of speed: You can't sit on a journalist’s question for a day or two. “You have to be responsive and make moves to get people and facts that you may not have—in some cases you may become the organization’s spokesperson, but if you're not, you have to be able to deliver that person fast,” Richard said. “Radio silence is the best way to undermine your credibility because journalists need an answer when they come calling.”
Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg