I was reviewing a story about one of our clients, Philip and Katy Leakey, written by David Brooks of The New York Times, “The Question-Driven Life.” There is a quote referenced in this article by the late Richard Holbrook that stands out, which describes the philosophy of the Leakey’s, one which they live by and makes me smile with memories of my interview with Philip: “Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”
It reminded me of why educating clients on what media relations is, what it’s based upon, and what it does, makes for a partnership that delivers successful outcomes.
Media relations in its most basic form is convincing a journalist that a client has the most newsworthy story that they’ve never heard…then convincing this journalist to present that story to their audience. The former is done in the form of a pitch that tells the journalist the who, what, when, why and where that is informative but not an ad. The latter is explaining why this story is a great fit for their audience. But it all starts with knowledge.
To gain that, we must work in tandem with the client and immerse ourselves in the background of the company and how it has evolved. We find out how it differentiates itself from its competitors. We want to know what problems it solves for businesses; or how its product enhances the life of those who buy it. We want to know what was the creative genesis of the company. And we want to how the business operates. Is there anything significant that sets it apart in their corporate culture that makes it stand out amongst top companies. How does it handle client/customer service that end users rave about? Does it push industry standards to another level? Where do you see your industry in 5 years or more? Is the C-Suite full of thought leaders, and what areas of expertise can they speak to? Can the company provide examples of success? How is the CEO on camera in delivering great information?
We are a client’s first interview. We think like reporters and producers and many of us at INK, have that experience and those news instincts. We prefer to meet in person and at the client’s place of business because this is the best climate for discovering the nuanced story angles that most clients never think about.
Bottom line, successful media relations is based on education and knowledge. We and our clients must “Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”
Now go and check out our case study on the Leakey’s and enjoy the story.