It’s quite common for potential clients, when interviewing PR firms, to ask them how strong are their media contacts. The assumption is that if we have friends in the media, then surely they will write about our clients. Right?
Well, not exactly.
In fact, many journalists tell us that if we come to them with a story idea that is too commercial or that just isn’t news, they will turn it down. In fact, if we keep going to them with this type of non-story, we will lose our credibility and strain the friendship.
On the other hand, if we have a good news angle and we have never spoken to a particular reporter before, there’s a good chance that he/she might write about it.
This is where the creativity and strategy comes in.
So - a better question for potential clients to ask PR firms is "show me how you DIDN'T have media contacts and you achieved significant media coverage," or "show me how your strategy and creativity led to more media coverage."
For instance, if a client is launching a product, and there are already dozens of similar products on the market, we work with the client to understand what is different about their product, and then create tactics to not only create excitement, but also to reinforce the core difference of that product.
If there is no news, then we have to create news, by latching onto a trend, utilizing market research, throwing a high-profile event, etc.
In the end, clients who spend more energy on understanding how the agency deploys media creativity and strategy get a better agency -- AND better results!