As the PR Pro: Do you have strong media contacts in my industry?

This is one of the most frequent questions we receive from prospective clients. What we tell them is that this is the wrong question to ask. The better question is: “How good are you at building relationships with reporters who cover my industry?”

Journalists are constantly in flux. We once heard that at any given time more than 10 percent of reporters are moving from one job to the next. Not only do reporters join new media outlets, they also frequently have their coverage beats changed.

While it’s great to know a lot of reporters, it’s more important to be able to build strong relationships with the ones that matter. In order to do this, clients should look for agencies with a knack for packaging story angles that appeal to reporters and properly coaching clients to deliver stellar interviews. A reporter—even if he’s a friend—will not run a poor story.

Also, if an agency has a lot of reporter contacts in your industry, it’s usually because they already have clients in that industry. If that’s the case, the question then becomes: “Do you have clients that conflict with my business and how can you assure me that we won’t be competing for coverage?”

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