Trust: Music to a reporter’s ears

If only I could sing like Aretha Franklin, I would re-do her hit “Respect” and belt out T-R-U-S-T.

It would be the anthem for public relations pros and a hit with reporters too.

Trust really is the foundation of the PR relationship with the media and the lubricant that makes the news wheel spin. The reporter must be able to trust a PR pro who promises:

  • My client is an industry expert.
  • My client can speak cogently and clearly on the topic.
  • My client is available and punctual.
  • My client can answer your questions without launching into a sales spiel.
  • My client can offer valuable insight.

The point here is that there are a lot of moving parts when putting together a story and many opportunities for the reporter to become disenchanted. When the oil runs out, the car engine seizes up and is damaged. When trust between the media and a PR pro is lost, future opportunities as well as the one at hand are in jeopardy.

So what’s the trick to keeping up the trust? Pretty simple: be transparent and deliver what you promise on the agreed upon deadline. If that can’t be done, at least give the reporter a “heads up” so he can make other arrangements and count on you in the future.

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