Great (Unrealistic) Expectations

19 11 2008

Public relations is a great tool for building credibility with your stakeholders. It’s an unbiased way of presenting yourself and your message using the media. And, to top it all off, it’s more cost efficient than some marketing and advertising tools. So what’s the problem with this? Read on.

 It’s not always a guarantee that you’re going to have a hit in the local newspaper or on the local TV newscast. Why a company or person gets coverage is not because the reporter or editor plays favorites (that would be irresponsible journalism), it’s because REAL news was happening. Real news doesn’t have to be breaking or be a global issue. News is news: it’s a piece of information that hasn’t been reported on and released to the world, and is of interest to a group of people. Sounds easy enough, but the problem is when it is expected that your “news” deserves coverage, which isn’t always true.

 To put it bluntly: what’s important to you isn’t always important to everyone else. What you think is “news” may not really be news, so it’s not always worth the effort to develop a news release or pitch an editor.

 I’m sure as the head of a company or manager of a product line, it can be difficult to detach yourself from the idea of getting coverage and evaluating whether your news/message is really newsworthy. To help me determine whether “news” is really news, I ask myself the following questions:

 1. What impact does this have on the target audience?

 2. Has it been done before?

 3. Has it been reported on recently?

 If your answers are “yes” to questions 2 and 3, then you most likely shouldn’t proceed with a concerted PR effort. If you feel that your message will have an impact your audience, per question 1, then proceed with caution. You may or may not get coverage.

 The point is, have realistic expectations for your PR program. You may not always have news to report every week, month or quarter, but when you do, you’re going to get people’s attention. No matter what, coverage is never a guarantee. The best a PR professional can do is develop a great pitch to the most appropriate media at the right time.





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