Tue, Sep 15 2015
As a former magazine and newspaper journalist, I’m a fierce advocate for PR consultants working collaboratively with media.
In my role now as a PR consultant, I find great value in workshopping a story concept with a journalist at the outset, and before suggesting a campaign idea to a client. Essentially, this helps take the guesswork out of media pitching, and ensures a return on investment for the client. The result is engaging, high-quality content where everyone wins. And, importantly, the PR practitioner earns the appreciation and respect of valued allies: journalists.
However, this process – based on a willingness to co-operate, as well as strong negotiation skills – isn’t necessarily something you learn at university, despite this being the bread and butter of our primary function as PR professionals.
While PR students learn how to create compelling media materials, they are not always taught how to find a home for the content they generate.
To achieve this, collaboration with the media is vital.
Admittedly, there have been challenges in the past, where the power dynamic between PR professionals and media often meant the former were at the mercy of the latter.
The media landscape has since undergone considerable transformation, which has closed the gap between the supply of PR material and demand from journalists.
PR consultants now operate within a larger and more competitive media market, with international heavyweights like The Guardian, The Daily Mail Australia and The Huffington Post having reached our shores. This adds to the emergence of a host of online platforms housing sharper, more shareable stories (Buzzfeed, Pedestrian TV and Junkee, to name a few).
This content-hungry media world, ever vying for new news, fortunately encourages a joint effort between PR practitioners and journalists. But this can’t just be a mental shift; it also needs to be behavioural. PR professionals can no longer work in isolation from those publishing their content. Instead we need to treat each other more broadly as fellow ‘communicators’.
Author: Cerisse Denhardt, Sefiani
For more of Cerisse's views check out the Sefiani blog.