Befriending the Media.

PR people are usually a source of nuisance to the media. They hound them to put in a good word for their client, try and stop negative news and are always asking for more coverage for the client. But as PR folk, we must strike a balance and make sure this relationship between our main stakeholders, i.e. – the media folk is of give and take. Let’s see what we can offer them!

Information:
First and foremost, the job of PR folks is to have the information and provide that information according to need. We know what makes good news and we can channel it through to the right audience! Information is also what sets apart a great PR person from the PR folks.

Contacts:
Our highest privilege is our contacts in all spheres of life, especially our clients – we are able to provide access to extraordinary personalities who may otherwise not give the time of day to the media.

Reliability:
The crucial thing about news is, it is time sensitive – PR folk are extremely reliable sources when a reporter has a deadline to meet and input from a client is needed. A PR consultant can badger the client into catering to the reporter then and there in order to achieve two goal;

1. Most important, PR mileage for the client
2. Obliging the media when they need it the most

Corporate Favours:
Quite often you will come across a situation where one of your clients is in a position to favour a certain media person in need of something, example; a discount on airfare, expediting delivery of a product and if you are really lucky – with an exclusive story that the reporter needs. These are small things for the respective client but come across as you have gone over and above and favoured the journalist. Never underestimate the small favours you can do for a media person, they can go a long way and help build stronger relations as well as indebt them to help you out when you are having a dry spell with a client’s PR mileage.

Entertainment:
Albeit being a very small part, PR people need to keep interacting with the media as they are the main stakeholders of the PR industry. It is always good to invite a journalist from time to time to an event of his/her interest apart from work (one company expense of course!) to make them feel special.

Insider Info:
This tool can be used in following scenarios;

1. Crisis management – Imagine your client being in a fix, you are the first person the media will call and you can give them the right scoop while safeguarding your client’s interests.

2. Industry FYI – As PR professionals it is our job to have an insight into the business community. This enables us to keep abreast the latest happenings and serves very well as a conversation starter with just about anybody. The trick is to share your insider knowledge by gauging the journalists’ area of interest and then give them the information as a thoughtful gesture of your close personal relationship with them, especially if the information is not related to any of your clients. It shows that you are well informed and the best source of information for the journalist.

3. The other side of the story – With your contacts, you can help a journalist out in getting the ‘other side of the story’ from time to time. This usually works in the case of policy matters involving large corporations.

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