Gaining press coverage is hugely valuable.
It gives you and your brand kudos, credibility and exposure to potential clients and customers. It enables you to offer advice, provide tips, tell your personal or business stories, or even promote something you’re launching.
And whether that’s in print, online, via podcasts or through broadcast or social media, it’s a great string to have to your business bow.
What press coverage doesn’t do, however, is guarantee that all words and pictures are printed how you expect them to be – and that’s when it’s time to start managing your own expectations.
If you have a great story to tell and you’re looking for a page to be published with all the words and pictures you have at your disposal, PR may not be the right route for you. Because press coverage is ‘earned’ media that is not bought but is based on the weight of your story, you have to face the fact that some words and pictures may be edited, cut or even ignored.
We work hard with our clients to ensure that corporate messages are weaved into stories, keywords are added where necessary, comments are included and relevant pictures are issued, but with 18 years of experience behind us we’ve learned a thing or two:
- We can’t cajole, schmooze or haggle with a journalist over their idea for a story or column
- We can’t barter for a ‘big splash’, with all words and pictures included
- We have to accept that some copy and pictures may be cut
And, whilst journalists have pages to fill with news and features, they are often limited to a certain amount of space. Furthermore, they’ll probably have very fixed ideas for a theme and how they want an article to appear.
With a huge photobank of their own to use freely, pictures are also at the mercy of being edited.
Put simply, if a journalist doesn’t use your picture, don’t be put out – it’s just that they know how they want a feature or a page to look. And remember, even if they select one of your photos, it’s a huge bonus – if they don’t, they may have spotted another photo that is brighter or a more colourful fit, or perhaps has a more subtle theme. That’s it.
It can be tough to get to grips with this if you are just starting out on your PR journey, especially if you’ve put an awful lot of effort into creating a relationship with a journalist and have packaged and pitched a story.
Sadly, it’s a PR lesson that has to be learned right from the word go. There aren’t any guarantees that a story will be printed verbatim and that all the pictures will be included.
If your idea has been accepted and you’ve landed a piece then celebrate it. Don’t concentrate on what didn’t appear, because once you have forged a relationship with a member of the press, they’re more likely to want to hear from you again in the future.
Go forward and don’t look back.