Journalists are pulled in many different directions, and they have a significant responsibility to cover breaking news, often under tight deadlines. These days, most journalists across the U.S. cover five beats (areas of focus) or more and report on at least ten stories per week. A partnership between journalists and PR professionals can be valuable.
According to new data from Cision, 18 percent of journalists consider their relationships with PR professionals more valuable than last year. PR practitioners understand the tight deadlines and will move fast while providing data, expert sources, and coordination. PR experts keep track of reporters, their beats, news cycles, editorial calendars, and coverage areas to provide timely pitches. The fact that these two professions have a symbiotic relationship is easy to understand. However, these two professions also contend with miscommunication, lack of quality pitches, and unprepared sources, which can break a story, especially in the hospitality industry where items like employment regulations, infection outbreaks, audits, and supply chain issues are dynamic and challenging.
Here are some things PR professionals should do to position restaurant owners and operators in the news and assist the media.
Develop Relationships with Journalists
The average journalist is pitched over 100 times a week. This inundation means they quickly scan pitches that fit their target audience. Those that do not align with the journalists' specific audience are quickly ruled out and sometimes permanently. Seasoned PR practitioners have the right relationships with the media and know how to provide value. Conducting systematic research on the journalist's publication history, the trends they cover, and their slants is crucial for tailoring media pitches to grab their attention. PR experts spend time carefully curating where to pitch a story.
Meet Tight Deadlines
Journalists often work within tight deadlines, and PR professionals know how to work fast to line up news with well-prepared sources. The source must be available for the journalist within a specified window or risk losing the story entirely and possibly tarnishing the relationship with the journalist. Wasted time is wasted money in the news industry, and PR practitioners help prevent scheduling conflicts and provide clear, concise communication to keep news cycles on time.
Provide Quality Data and Sources
Journalists want content from PR professionals. According to Cision's research data, journalists want content such as press releases (76 percent), original research reports supported by data (63 percent), and company/brand events with attendance opportunities (49 percent). With so much content generated daily, PR pros help get journalists what they need.
Engage in Media Training
Much like preparing for a presentation, a new menu, or a restaurant's grand opening, preparation is critical. Qualified PR pros will spend time in the research phase and offer information about the reporter, their area of focus, general readership, potential questions, and more. When someone is prepared, it shows, and the media will remember them for the next interview!
Follow the Quality vs. Quantity Model
Those who are unsuccessful in the PR industry follow the quantity-not-quality model. Journalists' emails are flooded with pitches, and when they constantly see a company or individual pop up in their inbox with irrelevant pitches, those folks are permanently blocked, and the relationship is ruined. The statistics from Cision speak for themselves: 48 percent of journalists will block you permanently if you send info that consistently has no value to them. When it comes to following up, 55 percent of journalists are okay with one follow-up, 14 percent are content with two, and 31 percent do not want follow-ups whatsoever. Patience is paramount as the right pitch will draw in the proper journalist.
The cooperation between journalists and PR practitioners can do wonders for promoting and growing your hospitality business. But alignment with the right PR agency is paramount. Look for a firm that has carefully cultivated relationships through thorough research, respect, and quality pitches.