That’s the thing with recipes… they are highly susceptible to interpretation and hard to give and use exactly as prescribed. This peculiarity can help explain why I don’t think there is a fool-proof approach to media relations. Sure, there are some do’s and don’ts that may apply to most, but even breaking some of those have yielded me results. So, instead of an ingredient list, I have come up with a list of principles (much like…boil water before throwing in the pasta) to set you on your way to media relations success.
Leave the Cookie-Cutters in the Kitchen
By-pass the cookie cutters and grab a healthy scoop of relentless determination instead. Like a seasoned chef with any recipe, feel your way around your story/news/message and understand what makes your audience, in this case the journalists, tick.
Is it Fresh and in Season?
Sure a chef may have a great idea for a lovely pumpkin soup, but in the heat of summer finding a fresh pumpkin, let alone an ample sampling of customers to have it, may be hard. By the same token, if you look at what is being written and covered and try to see if your story fits that message in some way, you will be more likely to find “willing customers” for your message.
Find the Prime Cut
The same way meat can be cut or sliced at different points to yield different textures and flavors, a message can be dissected or cut with precision to yield a “juicy” story. Say, the small hometown paper where your client’s business is based already wrote a feature about you and is not returning your calls. Try selling your story from a customers perspective. Maybe a hometown hero eats the same breakfast at your restaurant every Saturday before the home game. One approach could be… Is Amanda Deli’s Omelet the Food of Champs? Two-time Valley High football champ thinks so.
The key is to ask questions and listen beyond the story your client is telling you. Talk to your client’s customers and employees for invaluable insights. The more you ask and learn about your client the larger the piece of meat you will have to cut from.
Do you have other media relations principles you have learned along the way?