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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The media world runs 24/7, and reporters are hungry for breaking trends and provocative story ideas. Pressure is high for brand communicators to create a steady stream of captivating intelligence. (In fact, “PR Executive” was named the sixth most stressful job in America, following the likes of military personnel, firefighters and airline pilots, which is humbling company.)

One challenge is that not all client news is the breaking kind — and sometimes there’s a drought of fresh information altogether. What’s a publicist to do? In the words of Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”

Here are the ABCs to get what you need:

  • Ask — Don’t depend on someone to hand you newsworthy information; find it. Identify trends that have press buzzing, and figure out how your brand can add an interesting perspective to the conversation. You won’t know until you ask.
  • Bank on Behavior — Media coverage is cyclic. Flip through a lifestyle magazine in January and you’ll find some version of a “New Year, New You!” story. April’s issue? “Green Living!” Bank on the consistency of seasonal reporting and devise new hooks to sell existing content that will keep your clients relevant.
  • Connect the Dots — Get away from the “me, me, me” of media relations, and give reporters a complete story idea with multiple proof points. Reference a competitor if it’ll strengthen your case (strategically, of course). Journalists don’t have time to take your news and find the missing pieces to make it a trend worth sharing. Do the work, reap the reward.

By Trish Nugent, Senior Vice President