I have a friend that used to do PR for Fox News. While this job didn’t necessarily represent or reflect her politics, it did accurately reflect her skills as a PR ninja. Despite my continual ribbing about having to pitch Top Ten Male Anchor Hairstyles stories, I did always wonder how you do PR for a news organization.
She explained: “When someone noteworthy, a news-maker, says something remarkable, I go out and pitch that quote as news to other news media organizations, whether as stand-alone news or as a new development in a larger story. The goal is to get other news media to report on the ‘news’ and attribute the news to Fox, giving us the all-important, relatively objective third-party acknowledgment we seek as a credible source of news among a very desirable group of people.”
Someone noteworthy said something remarkable. That was the news. Fox was the source.
Her job was to recognize news when it happened, identify to whom this development may be considered newsworthy, and to add the necessary perspective and context to the news so that it was then accepted that the “someone” was indeed “noteworthy” and the “something” was truly “remarkable.”
With the new era of branded content we now live in, that approach to PR is no longer reserved for media organizations. The brand, your client, is the media. The content is the news.
It is now our job to take content that the brand produces (Videos, blog posts, Tweets, Facebook conversations, athlete trip reports, even interesting forum threads) and pitch it to other media entities or influencers that will find it interesting enough to report on, rebroadcast or include in a related story. Or just find it remarkable enough to Tweet the quote and link back to the source.
It is also important to keep the “news” in perspective. While a product managers’ ‘How-to retrofit your alpine touring boot’ blog post might not be of interest to Bill Pennington at the New York Times, it will definitely be of interest to key influencers in the small but passionate community of alpine touring skiers. That is who you pitch it to. That is where the influence and real opportunity exists.
Just as we do when pitching other news stories, it is also our job to provide proper perspective and context to the content we are pitching. That is our value. This content is remarkable and worthy because…? This person is noteworthy because…It’s your job to fill in the blanks.
It’s now our responsibility to think like my Fox PR friend had to think: Why is this content news and to whom? Then pitch it.