Sunday, February 8, 2009

Media Relations is to PRs as American Idol is to Singers

Sunday night is a great time to troll through the RSS reader and catch up on what people are writing and talking about. Tonight's topic is PR and journalism.

One of the revolving conversations that will never, ever go away is the relationship between PR pros and journalists.

Those in the business know the gory details:
- Media consolidation
- Social Media explosion
- Client pressures
- More content to create on the journalist side (blogs, podcasts, etc.)

My last point is the one that I want to make stick. It's the point that is really at the heart of this issue.

There are more PRs than there are journalists. It's a matter of numbers. It's really that simple.

While you think you have a great story to pitch, so doesn't your equivalent at a competitor firm right down the street. In fact, the PR to journalist ratio has got to be 10-1 if not more (probably like 25-1). So while your story might be great, it's not like breaking Watergate. Those chances are few and far between.

So what does all this mean? Well, you know those people that get in line and fill stadiums just to get a shot at auditioning for American Idol? Yea, that show. The one where you need to nail your audition...30 times in a row. That's what it's like to pitch the media these days. As a PR, you have to be dead on...all the time. You have to have a great story line, great spokespeople, fit into a larger trend and make the reporter look like God in front of their editor. Even then, you need a little bit of luck and great timing in order to get your story placed.

Well, maybe I am being a bit dramatic. Then again, maybe not. Try giving a reporter at the New York Times a call and let me know what you think.

You probably have a better shot at making it to Hollywood than placing your story.


Julie Gomstyn said...

Your last line makes me feel a bit nervous about going into public relations :P

Don Martelli said...

Well Julie, think about what the judges say. Originality, creativity and timing apply. A little luck helps too. Folks like yourself, ie college students need to know SM tools inside and out. Read everything. Track reporters. Start building relationships now.

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