In the March issue of PR Tactics there is an interesting article written by Rob Lynch that compares media relations to dating. Now I must admit, when I first read the title I was skeptical- I mean MR like dating? Come on. But after starting to read I realized that Rob was not insane, he was exactly right. This comparison seemed enlightening and made the world of MR that much more clear so I thought I would share some key ideas I found especially relevant.
- Most reporters want a monogamous relationship, or the exclusive. So true and yet so hard to pull off. I am not saying that I am against this idea, on the contrary I completely agree and would want an exclusive myself if I were writing the story. But from a pr perspective, how do you find that perfect reporter to have this relationship with? Do you pitch the idea to a number and may the first and best man win? Or pitch one by one and risk not getting any placement or not enough feedback to your client in a reasonable amount of time? I, in my short time in this field, do not have the answers to these questions yet, but I constantly question them and hope to eventually find the answers.
- Uninterested reporters will not respond no matter how often you contact them. I don’t even think this needs discussion, I just loved it and thought, how true.
- As the same pick up lines do not work on every person, the same pitch will probably not work for every reporter. This may be one of the very first things I learned when beginning to contact the media. That extra step of doing your research and personalizing your pitch to each RELEVANT reporter makes all the difference in the world. Another analogy I think fits well with this idea is an un-researched pitch is like getting spam in your inbox- No one reads spam so why would reporters be expected to read it either?
- Placement may provide immediate gratification, but relationships are often built over time. This point is what I am most excited about as I become a more seasoned PR professional. I love every day learning more about the people I pitch and finding stories or ideas that truly help and fit their coverage. It is frustrating to have a media list and know no one, but even in my short time at this internship I am already familiar with many reporters and can’t wait to continue our relationships in the future.
Now although I think Rob did a great job, I wanted to add a few insights myself. As a participant in the dating world there are a few things that have helped my love life and I think will help me strive in MR as well. So here is my additional list of tips for the dater or PR professional:
- You must have genuine interest in the other person. You can go through the motions of dating or PR, but if you don’t truly care about the person on the other side, 9 times out of 10 you will fail. Both in dating and PR I genuinely want to get to know the person on the other side, build a relationship and help them succeed. I believe this sincerity is apparent in my pitches and I hope is apparent in my pick up lines too 😉
- Kindness and Confidence. Confidence mixed with friendliness I think is the key combination to getting past that initial introduction phase in the dating and media world. When someone exudes confidence, it is apparent and attractive and who can turn down someone who is kind? I know I have a hard time of it and in PR I think the same is true.
Now of course you will still receive exceptions to these rules and like in dating, not every relationship is meant to last, but I think this analogy is a great one to keep in mind. My parting tip? Draw understanding from the one you know better to help you out in the other, equally important, part of your life as well.