January 4, 2017
In the public relations industry we are constantly bombarded with an overload of information. Whether it’s receiving 200+ e-mails or the content flowing through our social media platforms, it can, at times, be overwhelming. As PR pros, our goal is to get our client recognized in the media, but to also be mindful that it is done efficiently and in a way that it is beneficial for their organization.
We had the pleasure of meeting Pam Kragen, feature writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, who has been involved in the journalism field for 30 years. Pam focuses on human interest stories – everything from the art scene to veterans. Pam graciously took time to sit down with us last December to discuss the journalism industry and why it’s important for pr professionals to build meaningful relationships with their media contacts.
Pam started by emphasizing the importance of ensuring the information we distribute is accurate and truthful. Not only will the credibility of you and your team crumble with editors if it’s not, but will tornado within the industry as well completely discrediting your agency. As human beings we are default to trust others with the information they give us and we need to ensure our clients and team are running ethical and honest operations. There is no need to fabricate a story to make yourself look better. It’s not a good look and it will only hurt you in the end.
The other tidbit Pam left us with is her superhero ability to see through the assembly-line of pitches. Pieces of information that we think are awesome and compelling get sent out to numerous outlets hoping to see coverage. But the key is to make those stories relevant to whom you’re pitching. Pam said she receives around 200-300 e-mails a day. Um...what?! With that being said, she noted she will toss the e-mails she receives that are sent with more than one audience in mind and not pertaining specifically to her. If she receives a piece on a sports related client. Trash. If she receives a tip that was also sent to her other editors, she will most likely trash it unless she has developed a relationship with you. Relationships are the lifeline of the PR industry and so is doing research before hitting the send button.
The key takeaway? Do something to stand out. Ensure you’re telling your client’s story in a unique and authentic way to someone who is interested in the topic.
Although these seem like simple pieces of information we should just know, don’t let your guard down so quickly. Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or are interning for the first time at a firm, we can all reflect on Pam’s guidance to help refresh our daily agendas.