When the first-ever PR agency was born in 1889, generating publicity for companies was all about who you knew. PR people who also called themselves ‘Reputation Managers’ were movers and shakers within the business world, rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s most influential media. Although that still happens, content has swiftly become king over the years, particularly since COVID swept the world and changed the way everyone, everywhere does business.
With many new and existing clients I am often asked ‘who do you know’? As a Director of an International PR agency and a freelance journalist who has a contacts book of over 200,000 media, it would be impossible for me to know everyone, although I have met a huge chunk over the years.
From working in both PR and journalism I can tell you this much. In a COVID and post-COVID world, content is king. It’s no longer about who you know (although that helps) but more about sending a journalist a good story that readers, listeners or even viewers will be captivated by.
Here are the reasons why good content matters so much:
- Journalists are always looking for a good story
When I worked in newsrooms in both radio and print I would receive hundreds of press releases each day. With just 30 seconds to decide whether to reply to an email or move it to trash, if the first two paragraphs of any pitch or press release seemed boring or irrelevant, I would skip over them.
- Media thrive on quality content – with COVID resulting in redundancies across the mediasphere, journalists have less time to work and therefore face more intense pressure than ever before. I remember working on a newsdesk where I was interviewing, writing and researching all day every day. I was so busy I barely stopped for lunch. Providing good quality content that is well written and contains newsworthy elements along with facts and figures can make or break the chances of generating coverage.
- Reputation management – I can’t state this enough. If you are attempting to do PR yourself you are more likely to write something that is not only irrelevant to the journalist in question but littered with typos and unnecessary ramblings. You may have your own ideals as to what media want but, unless you have worked as a journalist or you have PR experience, you may as well be shooting in the breeze. A bad pitch or press release tends to get circulated in newsrooms, which can get journalists talking and tarnish your reputation in return. You wouldn’t want that now would you?
- Competitors – don’t be naive in thinking that you are the only person in your space producing one particular product. Everyone has competitors. As a result any content you are offering the journalist needs to be informative, engaging and inspiring so they choose to write a story about you rather than the competition. Don’t be afraid to be that donkey with that dalmatian coat and put yourself out there.
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