Much has been said and written about the relationship between PR professionals and journalists. It is not uncommon to speak of interdependence or even of tense relationships. Ideally, both professions work together: they research, prepare information, classify it thematically and provide their readers with interesting and new stories. In the interests of the addressees, a collegial cooperation and a respectful relationship of trust on an equal footing are therefore desirable.
The daily interaction with journalists shows that the media landscape in Germany has fundamentally changed in recent years. While information flows are becoming increasingly faster and more complex, the tasks for the individual editor have tended to increase while at the same time the number of staff has been considerably reduced. Online media are gaining in importance and click rates often influence the content selection of editorial offices. With well over 100 press releases hitting a journalist's inbox during the day, the likelihood of being overseen is high. If the PR pros get it right, though, they still manage to get the editor's attention.
This starts with the selection of suitable contact persons. It isn't beneficial to anyone if news or the client's professional expertise are sent to a max-sized distribution list using shotgun tactics. A rigorous choice of the right journalists coupled with a crisp subject line to the high-quality press release avoids frustration on the other side of the channel, creates interest and builds a trustful relationship. The message to a daily newspaper, which is characterized by a high degree of news value, must also be different from the message to the trade journal, which offers more space for comprehensive analyses or background reports.
Those who take these points to heart and know about practices in the individual editorial offices also increase their chances of winning over journalists for exciting customer topics. Earned Media, the independent and voluntary reporting of media, thus makes an important contribution to the credibility of the content. And those who regularly stay in contact with the media have laid the foundation for successful media work. At eye level, of course.
Individual aspects of this special relationship will be examined separately in future contributions.