Targeted messages that deliver

Unless you are targeting a mass audience, it does not pay to broadcast to everyone... your audience should targeted. We are focused in delivering your key messages and adopt an articulate approach in dealing with everyone, the general public and the media. Effective communications is essential in the end delivery. 

The Point of Equilibrium

Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Not in the business of Public Relations when the symbiotic relationship between the PR Practitioner and the Client involves the Media

By Khaled Talib

The PR Practitioner or Media Relations Specialists is often consigned to handling journalists. But ask any member of the press the number of calls they receive from PR practitioners over the telephone, and the reporter or editor will lament the conversation between the journalist and PR practitioner which goes like this: “Are you running our client’s story? When is it due? Is it a big article or a small piece?” The journalist hardly commits and is irked by this kind of attitude.

It’s a different story, of course, if you are Prince Charles or the Black Eyed Peas. Everyone wants a piece of you. To that matter, if you have a new mobile phone concept that will give the iPhone makers a run for their money, every media in town will be scrambling to talk to you.

A product that is exciting to you may not be to everyone else; the point is the Client is too close to the product to see the woods from the trees. So will the media take notice of you today? They might but the story could appear critical if you push it the wrong way. What’s your angle?

For a PR practitioner, the heat is on to get a story published for their Clients right away. And why do PR practitioners do this? It’s because they are pressured by a quota system known as the Key Performance Index (KPI). To put it simply, they have to impress their Clients with figures i.e. how much publicity was achieved in a period of time. Although the role of a PR practitioner is more than just garnering publicity, this appears to be the general expectation by many Clients in measuring the performance of their PR agency.

The PR firm hopes to clinch the retainer account year after year. The fear factor that clients might leave the PR firm for another pushes the present firm to ensure that publicity is attained as much as possible, and that could mean pestering and hounding the media.

Truth be told: If you have a good story to sell, you will find yourself with a lot of takers. It would be the case of journalists calling you instead.

Where stories are no-go, we rather inform our Clients about the pick-up rate of a press release before disseminating it to the media – managing expectations is important. If there is an angle to make the story spicier, we’ll find it, but if there isn’t, we’ll…there isn’t. As an example, we were approached by a potential Client who was selling aesthetic products designed to remove wrinkles and folds. We were invited to submit a PR proposal on how we can help promote these products to women.

Prior to submitting our proposal, we learned that journalists were shying away from stories involving such products due to a series of negative coverage with a number of other products and aesthetic treatments.
We highlighted this issue to the potential Client and advised them the alternative steps to take.

We were satisfied that we had offered a strong point as our aim is to provide an honest situational analysis to help our Clients work within and around those parameters to their best advantage rather than promise them realistically unattainable or non-strategic outcomes.

A PR practitioner is a partner, providing strategic expert counsel as your expertise lies in years of understanding the media and how PR and public communications work.

In the words of Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese General, “Nothing is more difficult than the art of maneuvering for advantageous position.”

And this is what we had tried to explain to that particular Client. Introducing the aesthetic products without talking about the issues at hand would be misleading the general public. What if one journalist decides to take a pot shot at all these products? Both PR and Client will be spending a lot of time trying to control the damage instead of having a plain sailing time issuing consumer-related press releases.

It’s best to be honest with ourselves while managing client and media expectations. It is necessary that we brace our clients with the truth and the given situation and then adopt strategies and techniques to overcome obstacles and issues of concern.

Pestering a journalist or the belief by Clients that if a PR practitioner has “friends inside” the media to ensure an edge up is but a fallacy. If your story is worth writing about, it’s simply worth writing about.
It is then up to the PR practitioner how to present the story.

The writer, who heads Newsline Communications, is a former journalist with local and international experience.

Anyone can appear in the news. But how the audience perceive you is what public relations is all about. 
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