There was a time when public relations seemed to be all about connections, and PR people courted reporters with story ideas pitched at fancy restaurants. But with all the changes that have come to the news business, connections alone don’t cut it anymore. The key to media relations today is a well-conceived story that can be told through multiple channels and is prepared in a way that makes it as easy as possible for an outlet to publish.
True story: Years ago, when I was vice president of marketing and communications for a large communications technology company, I was pitched by a big New York PR firm. They spoke so reverently about one of their colleagues and his connections in the media. As proof they told me, and I’m not making this up: “Katie Couric came to his pool party.”
That’s the mindset we have to lose, and here’s why: Newsrooms don’t have the manpower to cover as many bases as they used to, but their need for content has never been greater. With audiences for traditional media shrinking and new media outlets cropping up all the time, the perceived value of an individual media placement has fallen dramatically. So where does that leave companies that want to maximize their media relations?