The recent rounds of layoffs across media outlets are upsetting on so many levels. I hate to see dedicated folks who love their work being set aside. It's problematic to see the continual shrinking of a profession that helps us understand our complex world. It also puts much greater stress on PR professionals to provide better pitches; and frankly, I'm not sure all of us are up to it.
The most successful media relations folks know you need a great angle, credible spokespeople, and beneficial assets to place a story. When you can provide compelling visuals, helpful graphics, or simple descriptions of complicated situations, you help journalists tell your story well. Fewer journalists being responsible for telling the same amount of stories means we must make sharing our stories even easier because, in a scenario like this, a great angle alone won't be enough.
This can't be a case where the deepest pockets build the best pitches and win the most coverage. Even for small organizations and entrepreneurs, having great stories packaged with credible spokespeople, and easy-to-pull-from assets will be key.
With further reductions in newsroom staff, it is up to us - the public relations professionals representing organizations doing true good in the world - to do our jobs with an even tighter hold on our ethics of working toward the public good. Every time we secure a media win or tell the story of the work we represent, we are making a difference.
Here's how I'm planning on working through this:
Clients count on me to help them find the best stories to share. If something won't land in the media, I will be honest about it. Honesty with clients and with the media is always my policy.
Surface stories and scrambling for b-roll won't win the day. Building a robust story library, full of experts and folks with lived experience, having easy-to-understand assets and messaging that explain complex things to viewers and readers will.
That infographic you made for the volunteer training explains the problem your organization solves. That testimonial from a happy client? That media coverage you got? Leverage it. All of it. If it was a win in one channel, consider how you can build context to help it be a win in another.
The work you are doing matters. The organizations that trust you to fulfill their missions matter. Don't let the hard work of securing media relations scare you off. That story needs to be told. Keep shining bright!