I came across a debate recently with a PR voicing her opinion on the lack of forward features being advertised on sites such as Gorkana and Features Exec. Yes, it’s true, publications rarely plan their features for the entire year, but this is merely a sign of the times. The nature of online media means that features are becoming more and more news-led, so publications no longer publish long-lead editorial lists. PRs, nevertheless, should not be defeated in their quest for coverage. Features are an excellent way for clients to take part in industry debate and appear as thought leaders. Some of Spark’s best results recently have come from features contributions in the likes of The Times, The Telegraph and the Financial Times. Uncovering the opportunity and making sure that your client’s contribution is both relevant and thought provoking takes time, but the end result always make it worthwhile.
Here are three top tips to help you bring the coverage home:
- Don’t rely on existing feature lists. Even if a publication has a list of upcoming features, PRs should not treat this as gospel and should always check with editorial teams before factoring the opportunity into future plans. Features mirror hot topics within the industry, and the technology sector moves especially quick; therefore planned features can change just as quickly. Do your homework!
- Maintain good relationships. It probably goes without saying that maintaining a good relationship with the press is essential in PR. Journalists can give you the inside scoop as to what they are most interested in and let you know what opportunities they have coming up. So when the time comes you’re already in know which will go a long way when trying to impress your client.
- Be pro-active. PR isn’t rocket science and one way to master it quickly is to keep your finger on the industry’s pulse. Instead of the journalist coming up with the ideas, why don’t you approach the journalist and pitch a potential feature angle? Journalists are very busy people, so would probably be thankful for your ideas. Also by doing so, the journalist will know what your clients can talk about so may come back to you in the future.