If you retain a media relations firm, trust them to sell your story; don’t sell it to them.

Many companies who commit to media relations are advertising converts. These businesses transition away, at least in part, from paid ads – now exploring the world of news for exposure and awareness needs. If you retain a media relations firm, trust them to sell your story; don’t sell it to them.

Oftentimes, the billboards, direct-mail and commercials didn’t spotlight the company as much as they’d hoped. In these instances, businesses then supplement public awareness efforts through media relations, if not fully switch altogether. This isn’t always the path to media relations, but it happens frequently.

Two opposite means to the same end:

While the end goal is similar between media relations and advertising – the means to grasp the spotlight are different. Taking an ad-minded approach in talking with your media relations rep will keep you grasping – for straws, too. An ad looks and feels promotional (as it should), while a news story looks and feels matter-of-fact and educational (as it should, too).

So what?

If you’re a new media relations client being onboarded or just touching base with your rep during an engagement – don’t promote. In other words, when you’re educating your media relations rep about your bells + whistles, your widgets + why you founded your company, your growth trajectory + how you’ll get there, what differentiates you + every reason why you’re newsworthy – don’t sell this to them. Instead, be matter-of-fact and educational with your rep; answer their questions simply, straightforward and without a bow tied around it.

Spare the rhyming jingles for ads.

You do not need lofty, buttoned-up answers to reps’ questions – like you would when considering advertising language. In fact, doing so leads to confusion, waters-down your newsworthiness and results in fewer news placements.

It’s your rep’s job to positively elevate your stories as high as they can go + position them exactly how they should be told. If a reporter asks to speak with one of the 750 satisfied clients you told your rep about, and you can’t find one to get on a call – you oversold. If the grand opening event you’re hosting will undoubtedly have an overwhelming outpouring of attendance from the community – but it’s ultimately not enough for a news camera to capture a couple smiling faces, you got ahead of yourself. BOGOs are great, but they’re not news; they are (by definition) a promotion.

Speak candidly with your media relations reps. This provides the best chance for success.

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