Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and Enterprise Nation Champion for Nottingham, talks about nurturing relationships with the media.
Someone once said, according to Hollywood anyway: “Fight and you may die. Run and you will live, at least a while… they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!”
I am writing this at the end of June ahead of a BIG announcement by Boris on the end of lockdown. I think of this as ‘Freedom Day’ for many people and businesses.
So, in the spirit of William Wallace, I am looking for Bravehearts.
You see, I want you to think of the publicity game as a battleground. I want you to imagine your competitors are all out there, vying for media attention.
We’ve all fought, we’ve scraped, we’ve done our best to get by, to survive, even in some cases…to thrive.
For many, choices have been taken away from them. Projects withdrawn, contracts ignored, doors closed. However, throughout all of this, there have been opportunities, especially in the press. Tonnes upon tonnes of them and the problem is, your competitors have been taking them!
Not a day has gone by that I haven’t had a lead come in from a journalist DESPERATE for comment on how a business is coping with some key aspect of doing business in this bloody battle against the C-word and lockdown.
It is how the ‘new media’ works. They are no longer fettered by print runs and page counts. They are driven by clicks, a desperate need to show ‘reach’ to their potential advertising partners or to compete against their rivals for share of voice.
However, businesses are missing out on these opportunities for two reasons:
- They probably don’t know about them unless they have a PR chap or chappess manning the media fort for them.
- They don’t have the time or resources to respond.
Or, maybe there’s a third reason. A worrying one. Maybe they don’t see the value. They are thinking too short term. They perceive lead generation as seeking someone who will buy NOW.
The issue is of course that not many people are ready to buy NOW, they need nurturing. But people want the quick fix. The instant win. The sofa chat with Lorraine or the FT front page!
They spend far too much wasted effort playing Fantasy Fleet Street to generate coffee table coverage but far too often, with the media, they aren’t seeing the bigger picture. The opportunity down the line. This is how the media works – relationships.
Just like sales leads, they require nurturing. They need the free stuff from you that doesn’t lead directly to a sale – otherwise known as an advert.
They need soundbites.
They need case studies.
They need explanations of tricky jargon or legislation.
They need analysis of data.
They need opinions – lots of them.
They want to spark debates.
Ultimately, they need YOU.
However, for too many people, it seems like a lot of hard work for no immediate return. Well, “suck it up Buttercup,” as our American cousins might say.
Media relations is hard work. Just like anything worth having is. You need to play the long game so that when you have something to sell, the media is on your side.
They will remember how useful you have been to them; they will take your call or open your email and not discard it after 5 seconds – approximately the time you have to impress them normally. They will see you as a comrade in arms, not a sales team trying to leverage them.
In the battle for freedom, you need allies. You need to marshal your resources and find the small wins, gain some media ground bit by bit. Slowly gain the position you need, the vantage point where you can see the opportunity coming over the horizon.
Then you can clash your spears on your shields, then you can start chanting. Then you can let go your battle cry.
So come on Bravehearts, who’s with me? Who wants to put in the hard yards now over the bumpy battlefield of Bannockburn?
P.S. mooning the enemy is strictly optional.