Through my experience, it is just as important to have a strong Plan B, C and D as a Plan A. When I think about the time required examining and identifying all angles and obstacles, I refer to a quote by Abraham Lincoln: 'Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.'
Through my experience, it is just as important to have a strong Plan B, C and D as a Plan A.
When I think about the time required examining and identifying all angles and obstacles, I refer to a quote by Abraham Lincoln: 'Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.'
This approach serves as one of many examples of why Lincoln was revered as a pioneer but it also directly relates to how PR professionals should approach key stakeholders, like journalists.
When you plan your outreach, whether it is for a press release or creative content, the majority of your time should be spent on strengthening the 'axe', or approach. To help ensure you really reach the journalist, verify the following three things:
Do you know your target audience, i.e. industry and relevant news journalists?
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of a PR's job. In addition tofostering a brand and its message, it is also crucial to cultivate those relationships with key industry journalists.
If done correctly, when it comes time for you to share relevant information and promote campaigns, the reception will be more positive because you are catering to the publication's audience. The strategy of quid pro quo is very much a two-way street for journalists and PRs.
Have you correctly identified the preferred method of communication?
As most seasoned professionals will attest to, not all journalists enjoy the hundreds of daily phone calls from PRs. On the same note, the daily emails are also an annoyance.
For the past six months, I've noticed that Twitter has become an increasingly popular avenue for journalists to reach out to their readers and PRs. By recognising this preference, you have a much higher success rate of a response.
N.B. The above can also apply to the day and time that you approach a journalist.
Deadlines will be looming towards the end of the day so distributing a press release at 4pm will probably be ignored. While it might seem like a waste of time, asking a journalist when their deadline day is will be beneficial in the long run, especially if you intend to approach them in the future.
Ultimately, journalists appreciate that PRs have a job to do, but only if this understanding is reciprocated.
The key to a successful campaign is three-fold: identify key stakeholders and develop a rapport with them, contact journalists at an appropriate and convenient time and be innovative with your approach.