Nancy Vaughn

White Book Agency - Principal, PR & Marketing Director
Tampa, FL
http://www.whitebookagency.com

    Time, Patience, Commitment

    March 17, 2010

    As a publicist and freelance writer/journalist, I've been on both sides of the "pitching" fence.

     

    Working in PR, I am thrilled when the media comes calling for one of my clients. I don't care what time it is or when, I'm ready to go. I also work toward training my clients to be "ready to go" as well. I explain that there is no "stop the presses" and availability and making time for the media are important to establishing relationships and obtaining editorial coverage.

     

    However, as a writer on deadline, I have experienced the opposite. I will call companies, experts, etc. for interviews and quotes, and I often do not receive a timely response. On one hand it reiterates the need for people in my profession and I feel good that my firm stresses the importance of responsiveness. On the other hand, it's frustrating as a writer and I'm completely perplexed that people don't take advantage of editorial opportunities when they come knocking on the door (and some are even paying for the PR services!)

     

    The longest I've waited was a week and a half for a response call. Needless to say, once the person did call back I had already found another person to interview and the story had already run...much to his disappointment.

     

    This lack of responsiveness has occurred from small and large companies. Even so, the larger the company, the more they seem to value the FREE company advertisement. One may argue because they have a dedicated media person or a larger staff to delegate responsibilities. However, this typically means they have larger budgets to work with as well and can afford to pay for advertising when necessary - yet they still respond promptly to editorial opportunities. I've found more that it's the smaller companies that typically need the exposure and occasionally underestimate the value of good PR.

     

    Here are some things to ask before considering public relations for your business:

     

    1) Are you willing to make the time for PR? Making time to talk to the media is important. They may not call at the most convenient time for you, like after 6pm when you're ready to close shop. The late night is likely because they are on deadline. It might seem like poor planning on their part, but sometimes it's a last minute story lead that came in and that means exposure opportunity for  you!

     

    2) Do you have the patience? Public relations takes time. You and/or your publicist might try to pitch a story idea for weeks or months before you get a call back. When that call comes, will you have lost interest already or are you willing to put on the smile and be grateful for the opportunity?

     

    3) Are you committed to your PR efforts? For a successful PR strategy, you'll need time, patience and commitment. Commitment to the relationships you've established or are trying to establish, to following-up and to keeping the media informed (and/or your publicist) about new company happenings and innovative processes and/or services. Many times people will "remember" to share the new "news" weeks or months after it has occurred. When you are considering PR efforts for your business, you'll want to remember to share this information as it arises and becomes available, not too early (before it's ready) but not too late (when it's no longer timely). If you're working with a publicist, run the new product or service initiative by her/him early on. They may be able to generate a unique story angle for you.

     

    Remember, time, patience and commitment are key to effective PR. Have you received great coverage by remembering these key elements? Have you ever missed an opportunity because you overlooked one of these factors?

    Read Nancy's other blog entries >

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