About two months ago, I attended a training session called ‘What journalists want: A masterclass for PRs, marketers and business owners’. Hosted by freelance journalist Susie Bearne of The Guardian, the course went over the different ways of how journalists and PRs can work better together. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Think about what the actual story is. Susie said that the pitches that always work for her are the ones with a personal element to it, such as the person behind the company. The point is to have a story worth telling – by looking at unique and fresh angles. It’s worth noting that the key points of media interest may not be corporate talking points!
  • “Moments of need” are great opportunities for coverage and a chance to build a relationship with a journalist. Timing is key, and journalists need stories quickly. If your initiative hooks onto a national awareness day or a special occasion, try and find a way to link it.
  • Position yourself as the expert to turn to. Spokespeople can cement their position as the ‘go-to’ experts through a strong social media presence and writing regular company blogs. When pitching journalists, highlight previous media appearances and video interviews where possible.
  • Have “out there” opinions. This is probably the most difficult one, as spokespeople are trained to hold the company line. The best spokespeople know where to bend the rules…
  • Press isn’t the only way to get publicity. Public exposure can be achieved by so many different ways beyond just media coverage. Participate in roundtables, event panels or become a judge for industry awards. Entering awards is good exposure too. Other ways of getting publicity can also include getting involved in driving policy changes or charity initiatives.

When faced with pressure to achieve media coverage, it is easy to forget to take a step back and think about the real value we deliver to clients. Beyond creating those relationships with the media, our role as consultants is to not only become an expert of the media landscape, but also to come up with the most creative and engaging means to achieving our client’s goals (within reason of course). Ultimately, our clients have a story to tell, and it is our job to find the best way to get their story out there.

Want to hear how we can tell your story? Drop us an email at webenquiries@ruderfinn.co.uk – We’d love to speak to you!