Playing the media relations game

Expert Opinion

Understand what makes news. Even the nicest, most supportive contact will struggle to give coverage without some seriously thought-out, editorially-minded content. Meetings publications are tasked daily with filling their pages with copy that will engage their readers, so the best way to please a writer is to provide relevant, insightful material. A nice lunch is all very well (and to be recommended) but not if it results in the journalist going back to the office with little or no useable copy.

Never play the advertising card to try to gain editorial coverage. This is poor etiquette, ‘bad form’ and against the editorial policy of all reputable media. It is one of the ‘unwritten’ rules of the pr world and asking is likely to cause offence.

Know the game. Journalists are not there to give you free publicity, they are there to report on news which is of interest to their readers. If one happens to hit on a less than desirable angle, it is in the interests of damage limitation to respond, as quickly as possible, with the most senior person you can muster. Silence or caginess will breed frustration and possibly speculation.

In short, great coverage is your privilege, not your right. Media relations is a game of subtlety, of give and take, of timing and of skilfully-prepared content on both sides. One submits news, views, samples or hospitality for consideration and review, not for guaranteed A+ exposure, and the submission should be made with great respect for editorial discretion.

Charlotte Martins, Consultant of The Savvy Consultancy. Any comments? Email cmw@mashmedia.net

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