Scoring coverage isn’t about knowing journalists

Even if you’re best friends with a reporter, a pitch is worthless if the story stinks, according to the author. What do you think?

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Contrary to popular belief and PR mythology, getting placements for clients does not solely depend on having personal relationships with journalists or specializing in the client’s particular area of the business.

Instead, it comes down to three things:

The story to which I refer consists of the factors that make that client’s business distinct and intriguing to the media. Whether it’s a killer app, the CEO’s unusual background, an “aha” moment, or a timeliness that intersects with the news cycle, it’s our job as PR people to explore and excavate until we find that story.

Clients don’t always recognize the story. The right story to effectively convey the company’s messaging might not be obvious—or it can hide in plain sight. Sometimes clients are just too close to it and may not be able to step far enough away from their business to get perspective. That’s why they need you to see, as only a set of fresh eyes can.

One PR myth we all encounter is the client’s concern that your agency doesn’t specialize in precisely its segment of the business or have the right press contacts. The client is doubtful you’ll be able to deal with the trade press that covers its industry or even identify and reach them.

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