I thought the times of me being put on the spot at meetings were over. I’ve had practice of dealing with different personalities at many different meetings before, both professional and personal. We all have that one difficult friend or client that deserves an honest piece of your advice.
But what I wasn’t prepared for, was a simple, innocent question by a 16-year-old high schooler at a business meeting. I was there to discuss about a social awareness campaign that involved charity work by students from different secondary schools. They were packing meals for the needy.
A client was sponsoring the initiative so we had to step in and help out with some PR. Our conversation went something like this:
Me, overzealous: “I think this is a great media opportunity, maybe we can discuss some great story angles and objectives about the campaign to pitch to the media.”
Student, sassy: “Well, the objective is to stop world hunger and feed hungry people, who are dying everyday from starvation.”
That, I did not expect. It was a legitimate argument, because shouldn’t world hunger be enough of a reason for media to care and write about?
I wasn’t angry, nor did I blame the student. The poor guy was sincerely puzzled and confused.
I calmly gathered my thoughts and realised that it was time to take a step back, and bring it back to the basics. As PR professionals, we need to help our clients understand what it takes for us to do our job properly, while helping to achieve their goals.
So what is it that we do exactly? Here is a simple break down:
- Angles (Gathering of information)
We need as much information as possible. With this information, we will pick out the most important angles we can use for the press release. Tell us about the who, the why, the what, the when and the how – we’re all ears.
Stopping world hunger is a legit reason, but what sets Stop Hunger Now apart from Oxfam, Red Cross, or The Salvation Army, who are all sharing the objective of feeding the needy?
- Press release (Storytelling)
We help tell the story about your brand, and why it is worth writing about in the media. Yeah sure, we’ll add a bit of fluff in there – but most importantly we only write about the facts, nothing in there is made up or a lie.
- Media pitching (Persuasion)
Journalists are very busy people, they get tons of emails and sometimes our emails get buried under piles of other releases. This is when we pick up the phone, and have some one-on-one time with a specific journalist.
It can get quite nerve wracking, speaking to someone unfamiliar on the phone and trying to pitch an idea to them. This, thankfully, only gets better with practice. Once you know the journalists, their style and personality, you’ll gain confidence in persuading and become more eloquent in trying to deliver your message.
4. Media coverage (Public opinion)
This is what it’s all about! Getting your story published and hearing people talk about your brand can be a great feeling. People read the news, and we always aim for a positive story. This plays an important part in informing and swaying public opinion, about the good and bad of your company.
We help educate about your brand and to support it. Media coverage is one of the best and foolproof ways to do this.
If you need help with your PR campaign, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org