By Dick Grove
Today, media is a term that often includes advertising, online social channels and even gaming, and sometimes just to add to the confusion, are used interchangeably. As PR pros however, we’re only concerned with the media that reports the news. News being the keyword…and to make this clearer, the first three letters of news are NEW.
So, why is this so important to you? After all, what you want is to get your story and well-crafted message points in the press; and short of some personnel or funding announcement, what does this have to do with news? I’ll give you the same advice I give my PR brethren: think of yourself as in the news business! That is, you’d better be, if you want to succeed. Start thinking like a news person, a journalist, first, and stop thinking merely in terms of positioning or message points. We in the PR business often share a common background, and even education, with the editorial media we’re pitching. Most of us share a desire to maintain journalistic integrity. Lastly, we share a distribution system for our product…through print, broadcast or online. But it’s all still news. Hard breaking news. Political news. Business news. Pop culture news. And even sometimes unfortunately, fake news.
But let’s face it. Sometimes you’re not always newsworthy on the surface. In fact, sometimes your products or services lack sizzle. Also, be very careful of a trap almost all clients fall into…overestimating your own newsworthiness. In the last forty years, I’ve seldom met a client that doesn’t believe they have the greatest story that’s never been told; or has no real competition. In their minds it should be as simple as picking up a phone or sending an email to one of our media contacts, telling them the “news,” and allowing them to run the story. What could be simpler or so difficult? And in many cases they believe they could do it themselves if they had the time or the media contacts. Or believing that successful media coverage is really just about media relationships? The story isn’t as important as who we know at TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal or CNBC. Make a call and the story will appear. Maybe if you’re Apple, Beyonce’, Jeff Bezos, or the Kardashians, (even the media has a weak spot for guilty pleasures) it might be that simple. But the vast majority of clients are barely on the media’s radar, if at all. The real challenge is less who we might know in the media, than how to make your story interesting enough to have anyone in the media care.
The media wants news. Real news. The media wants to be informed, not sold. A great idea, even a great business, won’t mean much if no one of importance knows it exists. Liken it to the proverbial giant tree that will fall silently in an empty forest if there is no one nearby to hear it. Our job is to help you make sure there is someone listening.