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Posted - 06/11/2008 :  10:04:04 AM  Show Profile Send PattiG a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi all, I worked in the newspaper biz as a reporter for 14 years and went freelance over a year ago. I am wading into "media consulting," as traditional journalism is so labor intensive I can't justify continuing to do it as my main gig.

I have two clients I'm working with. Both are interested in hiring me for projects relating to improving their media coverage. They think I have a lot to offer, and I'm inclined to agree. I do know how the media works. HOWEVER, I'm essentially charging them for my time with NO GUARANTEE they will get the type of media coverage they want. I feel so stressed about it.

Those of you who work in PR, does it bother you when all the media packets and press releases and strategy does not result in favorable media coverage? Do you offer your client some type of service freebie if there is still no coverage? Obviously we can't make promises of things we can't control, but still how do you handle it when you do everything on your end to make things run smoothly and still it's a media fiasco or a media no-show?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.


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5199 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2008 :  10:45:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not in marketing, but I used to run a big local festival and we hired a PR person while I was in charge. She gave no guarantee that her work would provide a certain amount of media exposure (like, say, if you hire me I will guarantee you a write up in the Washington Post--that's not something a PR person can really guarantee honestly), but she wrote her contract with us such that we gave her a year to prove she was doing good for us. Certain things she did for us were easy to track--she would put coupon ads for the festival into special interest magazines, and when people went to the site to buy tickets using those codes, we could see that X number of people saw that ad and decided to buy tickets. She was also careful to make it obvious what she did while she was working for us. She kept great logs of her work, and it helped us learn what local media were open to writing about us or covering the festival, and we were able to expand on that over time.

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729 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2008 :  10:54:09 AM  Show Profile Send megknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Patti,

I'm not in PR but I just wanted to comment from a media person's point of view. (You probably know a lot of what I'm going to say since you've been a reporter yourself.)

I'm editor/publisher of several weekly newspapers, and we get tons of material from PR firms which, unfortunately, ends up going right in the trash because it doesn't fit with our publications. Specifically, we cover narrow geographic regions in our papers (certain towns on Long Island). We often get stuff that is meant for all of Long Island, or is so general in nature that it has nothing to do with our towns. Frequently, this is for charitable groups which I would love to help out, but we just don't have space for stuff that isn't local. (Paper prices just went way up, so it's going to get even tougher in the future.)

What I really love is when a PR professional emails or calls me to find out what we are looking for, and then tailors their material to my needs. For example, if a PR person is sending out information about a charitable event by email and includes a note to let me know that someone from one of my communities is involved, that is much more likely to get into the paper. (If they include a photo, I'm ecstatic.)
A lot of smaller newspapers don't have a big staff of reporters and rely on press releases for part of their coverage.

I didn't answer your questions, but I hope my input is helpful.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but laziness is her favorite aunt.
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