Now, I’m sure most readers don’t actually want to make a public relations practitioner cry …
But as someone who’s worked in PR, in some form or another for many years now, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what can upset, flummox and depress us. This list relates in particular to those who work in media relations. Read on and weep (or laugh).
Journalist moves on
You’ve spent months (maybe years) developing a great relationship with a journo. You trust each other. They accept and use your pitches. Together, you’ve seen some very cool stories come to fruition. They’ve been grateful to you for supplying well-spoken clients that match their columns and topics, often at short notice. And you’ve been grateful for the chance to shine a light on some deserving clients and their important work.
But nothing lasts forever … It’s enough to make a PR person cry when that journo 1) moves to a different newspaper round or publication or radio station or country 2) moves into a media adviser role or, god forbid, another PR agency or 3) runs away to write a novel.
Your client story shares glory with another
Your journalist friend tells you that your client story will be published tomorrow. You rise with the sun to grab the paper, only to see that yes – your client is quoted and yes they’re in the photo – but that their main competitor is included extensively in the article, too. You know the client will be disappointed (technical term is devo) and it’s very likely that news article won’t be anything they share in any other spaces. *back to the drawing board*
Your client isn’t available
You’ve worked hard to bring one client and one journalist together – for one wonderful story. You think you have their diaries aligned and all parties are prepared. Then, there’s a last-minute diary change; a photographer can’t make it; or your client’s child falls ill and they need to stay home … It all unravels. Say goodbye to the media piece and say hello to awkward follow-ups.
Your brain’s been working overtime (read = sleepless nights) and you’ve had a genius of an idea for a client story. Before you pitch, you quickly look at that outlet’s previous stories (like any good PR program, research + research + research) only to find the exact same angle has been used that month / morning / second. *back to the drawing board*
Over to you, PR people .. what else makes you want to cry?