Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't Be A Source - Be A RESOURCE

I participated in journchat last night (#journchat for those searching Twitter).  There was an interesting discussion about media relations and I shared my professional opinion:

PR approach: don't be a "source." Strive to be a RESOURCE for media and customers. Not about just getting publicly noticed #journchat.

This got a great response from those attending #journchat (You are all awesome!) and I got a couple of DMs asking me what did I mean by "resource." Here are my thoughts FWIW:
  • Being a resource means never trolling for ink. It means that as nice as it would be to be mentioned in print, it's not necessary (and statistically improbable) for a journalist to mention you every time you talk to them. Encourage your clients to agree to do informational/background interviews and give quality information and insight. At the end of the day, the story may not be about you, but if you help members of the media get a better understanding of an issue or a specific product or service, they remember and will return to you to help them with future stories.
  • What else you got? Quotes and insight are great but let's all remember that the media is facing tough times and newsrooms don't have the resources they once had.  Video, pictures, diagrams, interactive Web sites, UX sites, Q&As, backgrounders, social media sites, etc. Develop content that helps makes the media stories meaningful while still engaging your core stakeholders and customers. Don't just speak and expect that's enough to keep the media or their readership/listeners/participants engaged.
  • One size does not fit all.  Media kits are great for a snapshot/overview, but like pitches, information and content needs to be tailored to specific audiences.  For example, if you are working with a trade editor that has a detailed technical knowledge of semiconductors, make sure you have an appropriate SME that can address technical questions (without revealing proprietary information or trade secrets). Again don't expect a cover story. Work to educate the media and other stakeholders at the appropriate levels of interest and engagement. At the end of the day it's about relationships.
  • Media relations is a two-way street (push and pull). Media aren't mind readers. Soft soundings are more crucial now more than ever. Clients want to know if their info is interesting before they spend money to develop expensive digital strategies to support their services and products. Media don't want to sift through boring company information that just fills space. By becoming a trusted resource over time, clients remain top of mind and PR professionals serve a valuable function to both parties, demonstrating integrity while managing reasonable media relations return on results for clients.
I welcome your comments and feedback. 

No comments: