On Inside PR #173, my ‘-30-‘ comment, the short POV remarks we’re using to end the show, dealt with a few of the things we need to do to start fixing the pretty much broken relationship between journalism and PR.
This is something that must be done. And I think it’s up to our industry to take the lead and try improve the way we interact with each other; build trust, credibility and respect on both sides. I think the same applies to bloggers and other influencers, as well.
Part of the problem lies with the way our profession functions: trying to place stories, traditionally in MSM, for clients or organizations. We often feel under a lot of pressure to deliver results for which we have virtually no control.
Fine. That’s our reality and no one forced us into it. I’m proud to be a PR practitioner and this uncertainty is one of the things we just accept.
There are many media with whom I feel I have a good professional relationship. I define that as being able to approach a journalist/blogger with an idea they might be interested in, showing them why/how it works in a quick, efficient manner and having them say either say yes or no (or sometimes saving it for a future story).
However, I think that over the years we have made many repeated mis-steps that hurt the industry and our collective reputation.
And now, with social media and two-way conversations being embraced by both sides, this seems like a perfect time to make the change.
Here are 10 steps the PR profession can take right now:
- Always read a journalists or blogger’s past stories (and not just from last week). We need to do our research and know who’s covering or interested in which subjects.
- Know the difference between hard and soft news and position a story accordingly. It may seem big to us (or our client), but we have to step back and realize where our news fits into the grand scheme of things. I mean really fits.
- Be transparent and tell the truth.
- Stop writing in corporate-speak
- Strive to be helpful, not a pest.
- Understand that while our clients are a top priority for us, the reporter has many other priorities and we need to empathize more with them.
- Stop making media lists from databases. Go to the source: newspapers, broadcast outlets, blogs, online publications. See who’s writing about what. If we’re not passionate about media, why are we in PR?
- Never blast out an email to a large (or small) bcc list. We’ve all done that in the past. And some are still doing it. Really, this was a bad idea from the start. It turned us into broadcasters, something we’re not.
- Leave our PR egos at the door. It’s up to us to reach journalists. Stop griping if they don’t always call back when we want them to.
- Help journalists and bloggers understand the new FTC rules/principles so that we can continue to work together in a mutually beneficial way.
It sounds simple but we’ve got to make the first move.
What do you think?