We’re often asked ‘what is the key to a successful trade PR programme?’ and our answer is always the same: Strong relationships with journalists.
Of course there are many other elements that must come together before a campaign or long-term programme can be deemed a success. However, without truly understanding and meeting the needs of your target publications – you won’t stand a chance of achieving your objectives.
Getting The Balance Right
One of the true benefits of public or more specifically, media relations. is the weight of credibility that comes from endorsement by the industry’s leading journals or websites.
Yet while an editor’s raison d’être is to engage their readers with valuable, unbiased and informative news, most companies desire to see their brands adorning as many pages as possible. Understandably they want articles that extol the virtues of their products and services – ideally at the expense of their competitors.
There are clearly conflicting motivations here. The challenge for those with PR responsibility is to strike the perfect balance between the two.
We obviously understand the pressure from above for widespread coverage – be it from clients or bosses. However, continually putting those needs beyond that of the publication are highly unlikely to bear fruit. A journalist bombarded with unsuitable information will quickly lose patience.
Give Them What They Want
Media relationships are built on the same foundations as any other: two-way communication and trust.
Study, analyse and most importantly ASK what each publication wants on any given subject. Without that insight, it’s impossible to know what a good submission looks like. Once you do, set about making it as easy as possible for them to include your business prominently.
Become a trusted source of relevant material. Become trusted to deliver when you say you will. By listening to requirements then delivering on them exactly, you become easy and beneficial to deal with. Over a period of sustained, high quality delivery you can establish the business you represent as the first port of call for that headline interview, front cover splash or next big opportunity.
It’s widely brandished that PR is ‘not an exact science’ but you can certainly tip the scales strongly in your favour by removing potential barriers to inclusion.
Develop relevant and engaging material. Meet deadlines. Supply striking imagery. And always remember – less about your features and more about the benefits to the target audience!