Often times people assume public relations professionals are simply storytellers - or worse, story twisters. But truth be told we aren't always weaving the story. Yes, there is a huge creative aspect to PR, but we aren't pulling these ideas out of thin air.
A huge part of what we do is researching the news flow and placing our clients accordingly as experts in their respective fields.
Why? Because what makes “news” is often quite different than what companies and individuals see as a good and pertinent story to tell. Indeed, marrying news flow with key points and observations is just as much - if not more - a part of what PR practitioners do.
Researching and understanding what the hot topics of the day are – and making sure we are involving the appropriate people in the conversation – is a key critical component of public relations.
Why news flow is important
The media's primary objective is to inform its audience.
In order to keep current viewers and attract new ones, the media needs to cover major world issues and events – because that's what people are interested in hearing about.
Effectively placing clients to speak on current issues will create an association in the audience’s mind between that topic and the spokesperson of an organization.
This is why it is so important that we actively pursue opportunities to place our clients in relevant news. The news cycle moves quick – and it’s pretty easy to become irrelevant if you don’t move fast enough.
Timing and Placement
Frequently, businesses look to gain coverage on topics that may seem news worthy to them, but are unfortunately not relative to the current news flow.
It is our job as public relations professionals to find a way to make current campaigns relevant and to find the right outlets that would be interested in a particular news item.
This of course requires a lot of examination and understanding of the various news outlets.
Sometimes journalists are looking for new ideas and concepts. This in turn grants us an opportunity to form an entirely new angle, which is the creative and fun part of public relations.
However, often times journalists simply need commentary on major events or changes and it’s our job to find the perfect spokesperson.
It's not a walk in the park
When being proactive and strategic in pitching these specific campaigns, public relations professional carefully angle news releases, pitches and/or commentary and position clients in response to relevant topics in the news.
Yet, strategically placing clients around the news flow is more difficult than it seems.
First, you have to decide on what makes meaningful reporting and what type of angle a reporter may actually be interested in.
Then, you have to choose what commentary is relevant and who the best spokesperson is. This requires a thorough understanding of your clients, their specialties and financial news in relation to current events. This is why research is also extremely important in PR - especially in financial PR.
You can never stop educating yourself because the world of finance is constantly growing and changing in conjunction with major world events, so staying educated and curious is a key element of proactive communications.
Keeping Clients Relevant
The primary objective of placing clients is to help audiences identify with them.
Clear and concise positioning also allows the client to be associated with certain themes, which helps with future placement and publicity as the audience now view that individual and the organization they represent as an expert source on a particular topic or industry – i.e. Mortgage expert or bond market expert.
This – if done correctly – helps your client stay relevant and elicits attention from the correct audience you are targeting, which is a key aspect of public relations.
The End Goal
Ultimately, the end goal is to place your client into the news flow to gain them visibility and create a relationship with the appropriate audience. This can be done both by marrying news flow with key points and observations from the client as well as researching and understanding what the hot topics of the day are – and making sure the appropriate people are positioned to speak on them.
Everyone is just looking for that next hot topic and it’s our job to make sure our clients are part of the conversation!