Getting articles printed for PR clients is getting tougher and tougher with the dwindling media space. Gil Rudawsky, a former reporter and editor, wrote this article for Ragan’s PR Daily as a call out to journalists to understand the ongoing value PR professionals bring to their industry.
Public relations professionals are taking some body blows by journalists questioning the need for an ever-growing number of “flacks.”
As a former reporter and editor who used to get no fewer than 100 pitches a day during the past two decades, I’ll be the first to say that some in the PR industry have gotten out of control, and with the shrinking media there is a legitimate backlash. We would receive calls on deadline by junior PR executives pitching a nominal story that has nothing to do with what our reporters covered—over and over again.
Still, that doesn’t mean that all PR is bad and that there isn’t a symbiotic relationship between the PR industry and the media. Most PR professionals follow basic common-sense rules of media relations. These cover making targeted, newsworthy pitches, reading or watching the outlet you are pitching, and following ethical guidelines, as well as understanding time pressures and additional demands put on the shrinking media.
Assuming most of us in the PR business follow those rules, here are some valuable resources that the PR industry provides journalists:
1. Access. We provide reporters additional access to key executives who otherwise may not give the media the time of day.
2. Information. We know what makes a good news story and provide the media with targeted information with supporting materials, even for the most complicated topics.
3. Timeliness. We can navigate the bureaucracy of the companies we represent to encourage them to respond to the media on deadline, even if we have 30 minutes to do it.
4. Availability. We provide access to information and to our clients well beyond regular business hours and long after our clients have gone home.
5. Balance. We provide the opposing side of the story to the media, particularly for clients in a crisis-management situation.
6. Social media. Public relations professionals provide the media with better ways to reach the public, particularly through social media. Our proven pathways to the public are often adopted by the media.
7. Insider knowledge. As PR professionals, we are the eyes and ears of the business community and can serve as a media resource on industry trends and local happenings even if the news is not about one of our clients.