The media, whether they are local, regional or national plan the stories they tell. They will do this for the long-term and the short term as their stories have to be topical and relevant at any given time.
Once a business owner, charity worker, marketing exec or company director starts to understand this they can start to understand where they may fit in that media landscape, if that’s important to them.
A media outlet will hold planning meetings regularly. Some, every single day – to work out the stories for their next programme, bulletin, publication, episode, podcast etc. Their deadlines and timelines will be different and, sometimes, deadlines will come up multiple times every day.
When I worked as a journalist on a weekly newspaper, my deadlines came up on a Monday
for inside pages, on a Wednesday for front page and page 3 (known as power pages) and other days of the week I worked on stories which were placed in inner pages by sub-editors. On a daily newspaper we did four editions a day and new deadlines appeared from 8am then 10am, then 11am and then noon.
In television it was very different. Deadlines were governed by the date of transmission for that programme, which meant each programme was weeks in the making and they tended to involve many days filming, and each subject tended to be legally complex. So even for me it was a shock to move from such a fast-moving pace to a more drawn out process.
Since then, I’ve worked with many journalists across many outlets – often these contacts will be freelance and I’ll follow their deadlines as I know that the mere act of meeting a deadline will make me a valuable contact.
How do I have to work to meet these deadlines with my clients?
Sometimes deadlines appear arbitrary, but in fact they’re not. They have been set with very clear reasoning behind them.
- A reporter may contact someone and need a response within three hours.
- Someone may need a press release by the next day.
- A draft of an article is due in a week’s time for publication.
As a PR professional, sometimes I have to move other appointments around to be able to fulfil the deadline required.
If a reporter is trying to contact one of my clients for a response in three hours, I have to do everything I can to get my client to talk to them in that time. And sometimes this might mean having to track them down.
My holidays are family time and very important to me, but on rare occasions, I have taken calls to contact a client for the media – because I have understood the importance of the opportunity.
To this end, I have to be fully aware of national events, like The Budget, and keep an eye on the news when unexpected events happen so that I can contact and warn relevant clients to be ready with comments or thoughts about whatever has taken place.
When clients work with me, I come to understand who I can trust to respond quickly, without indecision, so that they look good, and as I’ve already mentioned, that reporter, or media contact will come back to me again. They know that my clients will be able to give them pertinent comments. It is all down to relationships.
Also, the deadlines of a reporter or media are more important than mine or my clients’ convenience.
Over the years my experience working in and with different types of media, has helped me gain both local and national press, radio and TV coverage for my clients.
If you want a better understanding of how to work effectively with the media in your own community or sector then why not come along to my Nov 9 PR workshop: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/powerful-pr-planning-for-2023-tickets-390450045597