Your PR person is your ambassador

Appearing in the media doesn’t always mean you need a news story – sometimes, you’ll have an opinion or commentary you’d like to share.

I’ve worked with a lot of clients on getting columns (print and online) published, so they can take part in topical debates and share their views and values with the wider public.

As a PR person, my role generally is to: identify the initial topic, have the client write their first draft, edit it for them, and then pitch it to the relevant media outlet.

Pitching means contacting an editor, producer or journalist and ascertaining if they’re interested in using that content. And there’s an art to pitching, including getting the timing right.

A recent article in PR Daily elegantly described the patience and persistence that can be required.

I had a chuckle while sympathising with the writer “I waited a week and followed up. Again, crickets”. The writer had a lot of success in pitching, but during the process “feared that a third message would ruin a crucial relationship”.

And this resonates with me: “I padded my last inquiry with two tactics: a profuse apology for being a pest”.

It is indeed a careful dance because, as your PR consultant, we’re also your ambassador.

We want to represent you well, and that means not annoying the media, not pitching irrelevant stories, not boring or hassling or chasing a journalist until they loathe the sound of your client’s name. We’re about building relationships on your behalf, not ruining them.

The PR Daily piece includes several morals, such as this:

“Never underestimate the power of politeness and sincerity. They won’t work every time, but they’ll never hurt”.

I couldn’t agree more – again, especially as an ambassador for clients. The politeness, sincerity, reliability and professionalism we display – it all reflects back onto the client.

NOTE: this pitching pertains to the longer-term opinion pieces mentioned earlier; not the news pieces that clients may have, where deadlines are tighter and a quick turnaround is needed.

Are you interested in writing an opinion piece for media? Contact michelle @prakky.com.au 

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