I had a conversation recently with one of my nonprofit public relations clients about my media connections and how she could get them. This year’s budget is smaller than when I had promoted the organization’s long-standing event in the past and she suggested that I hand over my contacts.
I wish I could say it’s the first time this request has been made. Whether it’s my media list or the programs my graphic designer uses to create innovative digital ads, brochures, newsletters and more, some clients forget that we are professionals skilled in driving publicity and devising eye-catching graphics.
What folks outside of the PR industry sometimes fail to understand is that a media list is more about relationship-building than a guarantee of coverage. I know the reporters on mine, as well as their beats and topic interests. I have worked with them on other publicity projects in Bucks County, Montgomery County and the greater Philadelphia area.
Passing along their names and contact information would be a lot like approaching a stranger on the street and expecting to instantly have a meaningful relationship.
A features reporter I regularly pitch ideas to had this to say when I shared what had happened: “Your media list is worthless to anyone else. As someone who works with you, I can tell you it’s the personal connections you’ve made that make you worth your weight in gold!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s mandatory to hire outside PR and marketing help. Some business owners may already have media contacts, a good understanding of what makes news and the ability to promote themselves through media relations, content marketing (blogging), social media or other channels.
As a small business owner myself, I understand the need to take on many roles, sometimes simultaneously. Yet, to work smarter – rather than harder – it’s important to know what to DIY and what to leave to professionals.