We are in the business of communications, we are communication specialists. We build positive image for our clients, manage their crises, create perception for them and we are their advisors. If seen from a broader perspective we are support pillars for them, from being a solution provider to an image builder, a reputation manager and so on. Indeed our role is quite imperative. Career opportunities in our field are booming day by day and every year countless bright young kids are joining the profession. While, everyone who is in the fraternity of public relations is well versed with the basic dos and don’ts, today through this piece I want to put light by giving some very simple & basic tips that can be prolific for the beginners in the industry.
Inculcate the habit of reading newspaper daily. Little knowledge is a dangerous thing. No matter how busy the day seems to be, you need to know what is happening around the world and predominantly around the industry you deal with and its competition. Trust me your client will respect you all the more if you are well versed about their competitors and know them even better.
Update your media database regularly. Transition is constant. For better career prospects or to pursue our passion we all love to switch here and there. Similarly our journalist friends keep changing from one media to another. It sounds really outlandish if you call a journalist who has changed a certain media house long back. In short you definitely cut a sorry figure in front of him/her. Make it a point to update the database at least once every month.
Know your Target Media. The Media landscape is huge, and every journalist or publications have their own set of beats. So before you pick up the phone to call someone please know the right set of media. It will annoy the journalist all the more who covers entertainment and you are talking about telecom.
Maintain Media Relations. Media relations is the part and parcel of our profession. To have good rapport with media is requisite. Appended are few tips that can definitely help you strengthen your media relations:
a) Regular Media Rounds. Owing to our tough clients deadlines we end up sitting at office the whole day. It’s my earnest request please go on media rounds meet journalists, discuss with them. Face to face communication is always more impactful than a telephonic or email one.
b) Appreciate the stories done by the Journalists. Always share your feedback with the journalists via email or phone call, they will appreciate it. Feedback is required by everyone.
c) Be a Referral Engine: Set up a routine of sharing relevant content with them that is related to the industry beat and the articles that they write.
d) Maintain their Anniversary/Birthday database. We all love to get wishes on our special days from our friends, relatives, acquaintances and colleagues. Make an effort to wish them too on their best occasions, trust me it will add value.
e) Avoid calling them 10 Times a day. Please understand they work on erratic schedules and they get calls from not only us but plethora of agencies. No matter how urgent the requirement is, if the journalist isn’t responding to your call please avoid repeated phone calls it irritates them even more. Just leave a message and wait, you will certainly hear from them. Incessant phone calls aren’t giving you any solution either.
f) Do not call the media in the evening. According to me the best time to call the media is 11 AM- 1 PM or 2:30 PM-5:00 PM. At any giving situation refrain from calling them in the evening as it’s time for them to file stories.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some hire public relations officers.
– Daniel J. Boorstin
Story Pitching. Pitching story is an art. You should know the topic well that you are pitching to the media, as they know the in and out of the industry. The moment they figured that you yourself aren’t aware of the subject thoroughly, they will lose interest and you will miss the opportunity. They work on strict deadlines and if they are lending their attentive ears to you, you should be crux, quick and to the point.
Extensive Research. Before writing on any topic please do not forget to do an extensive research. By doing so you will end up writing a better piece always.
Industry Updates/Interesting Stories. Regularly share industry updates and interesting reads with your clients. I suggest do not just pass on the link tracked, but make a crisp story out it and then share. Your client should always get the feel that their partners are treating the account as their baby and the baby is in safe hands. This will strengthen the trust factor.
Know the Crises Beforehand. We operate in the business where crises doesn’t knock the door and come, it can arise at anytime. As solution providers it’s our job to be abreast with such situations beforehand and be ready with the solution. This is a very imperative point to gain your clients trust.
Start Blogging. Needless to say, writing is an indispensable part of public relations. To become affluent in the skill keep writing and do create a blog of your own. If you embrace this habit since the beginning, you will become a great professional.
Aforementioned are few significant points out of plentiful that should be kept in mind always. A little alteration here and there in our process of working may lead to wonders. No matter where ever we reach, none of the industries can survive without the help of their communications specialists.