Does your public relations agency need to have good relationships with media contacts to be successful?
By Jennifer Manocchio
If I had a quarter for the number of people who have asked us this question in agency reviews, I could buy a lot of Cokes!
There really is no need for an agency to have a Rolodex of media contacts whom they have excellent relationships with. It isn’t so much about the relationships as it is the process. If you craft a good story, the media will listen. A solid professional reputation for producing quality story ideas is a much more powerful asset to an agency than a few relationships.
Today it is more critical than ever to be an expert when it comes to the media relations process because the media industry is changing so drastically. There have been a significant number of layoffs and buyouts that often result in new reporters covering new beats. We have even seen media outlets stop covering specific beats all together. Also, less staff means reporters have less time to listen to story pitches. This means that even the most comprehensive Rolodex could be obsolete in a matter of weeks.
On the other hand, it can be worthwhile to build relationships with media who cover your beat because it can help your pitch get heard/seen. The best way to build a relationship is to continually go to the media with good story ideas (even when they aren’t about your company) and respond promptly when asked for information, product samples, interviews, etc. However, simply having a relationship doesn’t mean the media will be interested in every story you pitch.
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