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Where has good old-fashion public relations gone?

Public relations professionals of old knew that good media relationships were the key ingredient to brand success, but has this survived in the digital era? We’re not convinced.

The days of long, lazy lunches spent schmoozing the editors and journalists of publications you believe to be a good fit with your brand are ancient history. Who has the time – or budget – to spend making nice over a bottle of expensive Champagne?

The arrival of the digital age has brought with it a heightened sense of urgency forcing many public relations professionals to abandon that vital aspect of their role: creating lasting relationships with media.

They’ve forgotten what the word “relations” means in “public relations”. Yet, without good relationships with the media, there’d be no publicity. A good PR is more than just a press release punter that spends their days phoning up media people with time-wasting queries such as “did you receive my email?”

Taking time to understand the limitations and challenges journalists face and being a problem solver is certainly part of the formula, but it isn’t enough.

As public relations professionals, we need to ask ourselves a difficult question: why aren’t journalists interested in using the content we send them? Is it because the press release you’ve thrown together is a thinly veiled sell rather than hard-hitting story that offers real facts told using strong story-telling technique?

Like the rest of us, journalists are under pressure to produce more value with less resource. Understanding this is vital for any publicist interested in creating success for their clients. The key is to create credibility in the content you are selling to those journalists. They don’t always have time to sift through the brand-speak to find the real story. So, you’ve got to take into consideration your pitch approach, and consider tailoring content to suit your targeted media.

What would happen if we only made contact when we truly had a good story? And what if we took the time to make that content the quality that the journalist would be proud of themselves?

Creating content that is parallel to that which is produced by a specific media outlet is precisely the key to successful public relations.

By delivering carefully crafted pieces of content, you are paying respect to that media house and its readers. Perhaps most profoundly, by taking the time to create this quality content, you are paying respect to your own client. It’s up to you to behave like the journalist for your clients, asking the hard-hitting questions and thinking the way a journalist might think, looking for the “real” story. It’s this formula that creates the brand journalism success story.

Long, boozy lunches between publicists and journalists may be a thing of the past, but sharing great content together needn’t be.