FPRA Jacksonville invited local media to share best practices with FPRA members at the annual Media Summit and Networking Luncheon on March 9 at Firehouse Subs Headquarters.
Public relations (PR) professionals always need to remember reach out to the correct reporter or blogger and make sure press releases and pitches are about timely and newsworthy topics. Seek out influencers and writers that specialize in your story’s topic, write captivating headlines, and tell anecdotal stories about real people who are available for an interview. If you do have a story with several angles, providing anecdotal stories and content for those angles can be a way to reach several media professionals about the same story.
Folio Weekly Columnist and Political Writer A.G. Gancarski shared, “If there are several angles, then there can be more bites of the same apple.”
Media professionals also had many comments on how to build trust with them and why that is important not only to a PR professional’s organization but to that PR professional’s reputation. Unlike sharing several legitimate angles of a story with solid content to several media channels, promising exclusivity to a reporter or blogger needs to be handled very differently.
Food Writer and Restaurant Reviewer Caron Streibich emphasized that promising exclusivity is where a PR professional can build trust with a media source. Bloggers and reporters have a reputation of being a credible source to their readers and viewers, so press releases and story pitches need to be accurate and detailed. If you offer exclusivity to one reporter, that trust should not be broken by sharing it with another media professional in the same market.
When a story breaks, you may not have control over the story and exclusivity may not be possible. Daily Record Managing Editor Karen Brune Mathis offered, “There may be many entry points (into the story) than you, so don’t promise an exclusive if you don’t have control over it.”
If you have built up goodwill, trust and working relationships with reporters and bloggers previously, remember to be transparent and responsive when the story is negative. “Don’t tell me it is not a story, because we will go around you and find someone else to talk to,” said First Coast News On Your Side Reporter Ken Amaro. “Be transparent and respond to requests for information.” Ken advised that even though a PR professional may not know the answer when he first contacts them, just let him know that and then respond to him with a statement or further information in a timely manner. Keep in mind that news cycles are incredible short and media professionals are always on deadline.
Whether it is a newspaper or television station, media channels are also feeding news to the public online as well as in their traditional broadcasts and print publications.
Florida Times Union Editor Mary Kelli Palka echoed Amaro’s remarks. “Be honest and build trust with us,” said Palka who stressed the importance of a good reputation as a PR professional. “We know if a PR person isn’t a reliable source, and then we will go around you.”