If you want to maximize a public relations client’s chances for good publicity, you may have to ask them them curb their sales pitch. A client’s desire to push a product or service in a press campaign is often the most effective way to get press releases ignored by journalists. Public relations consultants can ruin relationships with editors and producers, and your client’s credibility may become suspect.
In the long run, public relations firms can bolster company sales by grooming their client’s media profile in terms of specific expertise. Entrepreneurs and business owners who demonstrate superior understanding of industry issues, trends, and professional practices increase their chances to be sought out for media interviews where they can offer expert commentary. By earning a profile as a trusted industry insider, your clients have a better shot at the positive press they crave.
New clients, particularly those addressing the issue of media exposure for the first time, tend to be unaware of editorial needs. They may be under the assumption that any company news will be newsworthy to anyone and everyone. Public relations firms should take initiative to discuss the realities of approaching the media, including the practical value of positioning clients as experts in their field.
Once all parties understand the need for long-term public relations planning, a strength assessment should be made to determine the client’s specific industry expertise and ability to interact with the media. Certain companies may not be able to identify their own strengths, and some prompting may be necessary. Once you have defined an area of expertise, determine which journalists you should be targeting at the national, regional, and local levels.
Prepare or update a database of press contacts, both for distributing press releases and for direct inquiries. Removing the pressing need of immediate coverage will make for a more pleasant introduction between your client and key reporters and editors, warming them up for follow-up press releases. This will also give you a sense of which journalists are most keen to talk with your client.
Before a public relations firm plans a public speaking engagement, a client should build experience by becoming a vocal participant at other events. Most panels and seminars at major industry conferences open the floor to questions from the audience. To prepare, coach your client by reviewing the presentation agenda, pinpoint topics to address, and help them script their introduction and key messages.
While some clients may attract press attention more quickly than others, all must understand that maintaining a profile as an expert in their field will be a continual process. You must reaffirm that only the legwork of a diligent public relations firm will keep their name in the minds of reporters, editors, and producers.
This article, written by Adam Bello, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.