Hook, Line and Sinker: Understanding the Media and Analyst Waters

Zach Gosney
June 7, 2023

The role of PR is an essential one, not only for finding your company's most valuable story or spokesperson but for shaping the perception and success of your company or organization through media and analyst relations. While seemingly unrelated, the same skills honed by an expert fisherman draw many parallels to those of a PR professional, including patience, persistence and practice. Whether your company is a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in an open ocean, the right PR pro can apply their valuable insights and expertise to help you navigate the turbulent waters of media and analyst relations, ensuring a bountiful catch of impactful results.

Casting the Right Bait:

Just as selecting the right bait is crucial to attract the desired fish, identifying the right message and story angle is essential in luring the attention of journalists and analysts. A strong PR team should understand the interests, preferences and needs of journalists’ and analysts’ audiences, working closely with you to craft compelling pitches that help your company stand out from the crowd. In my recent experience working with a startup, the client didn’t always have that new flashy product upgrade or groundbreaking partnership announcement. What they did have was a thought leader that could talk the talk and walk the walk. Just like a fisherman’s tangled twine, your market, and ideal journalists’ beats are often intertwined through collaborative efforts and shared knowledge. So, a strong PR agency should pay close attention to both your market and media interests by tracking their recent coverage and activity on LinkedIn, Twitter and other relevant platforms. Amid these activities, a strong PR agency should understand that, while the news may not necessarily be there, their client’s views, opinions and expertise are valuable assets to maximize your company’s casting efforts.

Patience and Persistence

With that said, it’s not just about choosing the right bait. As anyone who has ever fished before knows, it requires a massive amount of patience. In PR, we know deadlines all too well, but we also know that building those key relationships with the media demands time and perseverance. Being patient and strategic with your media and analyst outreach by providing carefully selected stories and insights will not only position your company as a valued resource, it will also help you establish long-term trust and credibility. 

Pay Attention to the Motion of the Ocean

When pursuing the Big Kahuna in deep waters, fishing conditions can change rapidly, requiring you to adapt your techniques accordingly. Similarly, in media and analyst relations, the landscape can be dynamic, with evolving trends and industry drivers. Being flexible in your approach and adjusting your strategies when needed can significantly enhance your outreach efforts. One of my favorite pitching approaches can be summed up by Michael Smart PR, with the concept of giving 20% of the people 80% of my attention. This method helps me develop what we at Engage PR call our “Influencer List”. Instead of casting out a wide net, we use our patience, persistence and targeted media strategy to carefully anchor our efforts in the right spots, making outreach as easy as fishing in a barrel.

Measuring Success: Weighing the Bounty

A successful fishing trip is often determined by the size and weight of the catch. Likewise, PR efforts must be measured to evaluate their impact. While quantity is important, the quality of media coverage is equally significant. Similar to how a fish’s size indicates its worth, assess the reach and influence of the media outlets that cover your brand. Consider metrics such as readership, article reach, sentiment, or social media engagement to determine the impact of coverage. This is the surest way to see if your message is making a splash. These metrics help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and initiatives, guiding future PR strategies and helping you refine your fishing techniques for even greater success. Now that we have concluded our exploration of the media and analyst landscape through the lens of fishing analogies, let's embrace the spirit of adaptability, patience and resilience that fishing teaches us and set sail on a PR journey that nets fruitful results for your business. 


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