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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Mis-informed Clients on Public Relations

In a recent post on Guy Kawasaki's blog, "How to Change the World," Margie Fisher provides a list of the top ten reasons why PR doesn't work. As an aspiring PR practitioner, I could see how disconnects in communication could lead a client to believe that public relations is not working in their favor.

I especially agree with reason #9: "Clients get upset when the media coverage is not 100% accurate or not the kind of coverage that they wanted." My first press conference that I organized and hosted, the Campaign for Affordable Textbooks, I thought was a complete disaster. There were only two media contacts present to cover the event, plus a crowd of about 15 people. However, I managed to get some great guest speakers and ended up with a 30-second segment on one of the leading news stations in Eugene, as well as an article in the local newspaper. I later learned that a 30-second segment is a good thing, considering that most news segments are only about minute long anyways. But people who are not in public relations don't understand the media relations process, which is why it may be viewed as inefficient to some clients to have only a small segment on television. But in reality, it is a good thing if positive publicity related to a client ends up on the news, because that means the issue is newsworthy.

I also agree with reason #10: "Clients won't change their schedules for the media. Clients need to drop everything if the media calls." One of the main points that I learned in my PR writing class focused on specifics about media relations, and one tip I remember is to always answer a reporter's phone call, or at least always return it the same day. Denying the media will not only burn a bridge with what could be a pivotal media outlet, it will eliminate an opportunity that a client had to inform and communicate with the public.

Labels: PR services


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