Learn the ways, young padawan
So you want to become a PR Jedi Master? You need to man the Millennium Falcon that is your pitch and land that sweet piece of coverage, restoring justice to the galaxy? Don’t we all…unfortunately, that is not always the case in PR, but why? Well, we may not be able to turn to the Jedi Council of First Knowledge for answers, but we do have Muck Rack's 2023 State of Journalism Report to teach us the ways of the force.
If you’re struggling to secure coverage for your client, getting ghosted by journalists or receiving the dreaded response…”pass,” don’t give up! This is your call to action. Rejection is an opportunity for growth and strategic improvement. It should be a motivator, not a roadblock.
“The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Although his inverted syntax can be disorienting, Yoda still offers nuggets of wisdom for the PR industry. The biggest mistake PR pros make happens long before the pitch is sent - they don’t understand the reporter’s audience. Muck Rack’s State of Journalism report shows that most journalists receive up to five pitches per day, with about 60 of surveyed journalists stating their email inbox is clogged with 225 pitches a week. So, you can imagine the frustration when a cybersecurity journalist receives a pitch promoting dog treats. A true PR pro uses Cision as a strategic, targeted emailing tool, not a spam emailing solution.
“Beep Beep De Boop Beep.”
Above all - be human! After all, you’re pitching to one (at least until ChatGPT has something to say about it). Understanding a journalist's beat is one thing. Although email is a digital medium, it’s important to understand that pitching and media relations depend on human interaction. The patented spray and pray, copy + paste, mass-pitching approach is a surefire way to remove the human element and get your pitch instantly rejected. In fact, 24 percent of journalists stated that Lack of Personalization led to an immediate rejection, with 22 percent listing Bad Timing as the cause. Remember to take your time, tailor your pitch and avoid being a droid. Furthermore, if you’re going to use ChatGPT to write your pitches, make sure to proofread them and remove robotic, repetitive, uninspired language before you hit send.
“Your focus determines your reality.”
-Qui Gon Jinn
I agree with Qui. Focus is, without a doubt, a vital tool in the PR Jedi’s arsenal. As a result, your chosen focus directly determines the fate of your PR reality, or pitch. What separates the pros from the wookies comes down to a PR pro’s ability to focus on key trends that are relevant to their client. It’s no surprise that Muck Rack reported 69 percent of journalists said a subject connected to a trending story was more shareable. A focus on key industry trends and stories remains the PR Jedi’s strongest tool. This allows a PR pro to channel the power of the force and predict what a journalist will cover well before it happens, or right after it happens.
“You will find only what you bring in”
Above all, a successful PR agency must understand and trust the process to give clients the results that bind their galaxy together. Yes, clients can achieve some success by working with an average grunt stormtrooper. However, this can overwhelm the media. Trying to spin every little piece of “news” into an important story will ultimately land your pitch in the spam folder. The true power of an exemplary PR agency is that they understand the force of media relations and see it as a two-way street. A good PR agency views media relations as transformational, not transactional, for your business. Clients will only benefit from partnering with an agency that understands how to garner relevance to current trends to transform the public perception of your business. After all, analyst surveys speak for themselves. Whether you’re a client looking for a PR agency or a PR pro looking to improve your media relations strategy, may the force be with you...
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