Jan 312008

On a regular basis we bring members of the media in to speak with staff at Strategic Communications Group. Even in an increasingly technical world, there is great value in meeting personally with the people you’ll be pitching on behalf of clients. And helping to foster these relationships is part of the professional development process at our agency. 

Last week Bill Jackson of Government Computer News came in to our offices. Bill is an old pro with over 30 years experience writing on government technology. His beat is pretty broad, encompassing communications, networking and security issues.  He gave us a clear download from his perspective:

  • He gets between 100-200 emails daily, opens maybe 2%
  • If you’ve done your homework and have something good, doesn’t mind a phone call. But the bar is higher
  • Despite the 2% open rate, he does base a fair amount of stories on pitches he receives — the effective, relevant ones,
  • Suggestions for our clients — be interesting, share knowledge, be available
  • Doesn’t mind a client who is self-serving, as long as its germane to the story 

Listening to Bill reinforced how good PR people need to balance the needs of clients and the media to be truly successful. Obviously we represent the interests of our clients. But if we don’t recognize and respect the interests of the media we pitch, we won’t be successful for clients and we’ll lose the respect of people we need to stay in contact with on a regular basis. 

It’s in that sweet spot of mutual benefit that great PR work happens. 

  One Response to “Balancing Client and Press”

  1. Chris,

    Bill’s comments were spot on with what I have heard from other journalists regarding effective media relations. Read the publication…understand the writer’s areas of coverage…and answer the “why is this relevant” question in the pitch.

    Good post!

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