Include. Increase. Influence. Inform. Initiate. Inspire. Instruct. Interpret. Introduce. Invent. Invest. Invite. Invoke. Involve.
Every company has an interesting story — don’t trust outsourced strangers to tell yours. ‘IN’ Source your PR to move toward authentic brand conversations while creating a culture of communication.
ZGPR is not an agency, this is a rebellion, and to me, your story is personal.
Why ‘IN’ Sourcing?
The communications industry’s continual inability to meet journalists’ needs is a failure not just of individual professionals but of leadership. While proper pitching seems like PR 101, the increasing number of disgruntled journalists, coupled with the waning enthusiasm of CEO’s, hints that this is not a malady of the occasional untrained staffer, fly-by-night agency, or rogue freelancer.
How does bad PR affect your business?
If you have a public relations agency that looks at media relations as an automatic process, where you just plug-and-play or spray-and-pray, then you are missing out on the vital strategy of actually building relationships with journalists. If media relations is a tactic that is handed off to junior staff, to process press releases and media pitches in bulk, then you are missing out on the benefits of great media relations. And if you are lucky enough to have a very experienced, savvy professional running your media relations programs, that’s good news. I will keep fighting the fight because every bad pitch not only affects the agency and client that it represents, but it affects every experienced public relations professional who is doing this the right way.
What is wrong with outsourcing your PR?
Nothing actually, if you know for sure that your agency is managing your media contacts in an ethical, efficient manner. Considering that 65% of journalists delete media pitches sent by publicists, there’s a chance that your outsourced work is getting through and that you are seeing results. But there is also a chance that your agency has been blocked by journalists or blacklisted for bad pitching practices. Outsourcing your PR means that you are no longer at the center of your storytelling process and you may have lost a connection to your target media because of it. However, if your outsourced agency is building media lists with thousands of contacts on them, re-pitching the same old news over and over again, and then acting less-than-professionally when a story is rejected, then outsourcing might not be working for you. Your story is the essence of your brand. How you tell it is of the utmost importance. Do you trust an outsourced press release farm to tell your story?
Why is ‘IN‘ sourcing better for PR?
‘In’ Sourcing gives you the missing piece of your media relations puzzle. ‘In’ Sourcing gives you visibility into the practices that your brand is following when reaching out to media. ‘In’ Sourcing keeps your brand at the center of your storytelling. When you are at the center of your story-telling process, you know that the strategies and tactics that come together when sharing your brands messaging are on-point. When you are at the center of your story-telly process, then you know that you are ethically and efficiently maximizing your media opportunities. When you are at the center of your storytelling process, then you know when stories are getting traction (and why!) and when messages are falling flat with journalists. Just like the old telephone game that we played as children, a disconnect between your brand and your brand messengers can come out as garbled, unproductive nonsense on the other end of the line – the journalist. Few business relationships are more important than with the media. Hold your brand and hold your stories close with an inner-circle that can be trusted.
Influencing Means Engaging Experiences
I founded Z Group PR as a freelance consultancy after years working with communications teams and public relations agencies and have offered my advice in many media interviews and articles. Recently, I have been telling anyone who will listen that a 360° engagement approach is the best way to maximize PR and communications efforts. You cannot influence your environment if you do not have a complete picture of your marketplace from every vantage point. I think it is great to give people recognition of their efforts and abilities to influence industries, ideas, and followers. My best advice to becoming an influencer is to stop trying to be named as such. Most people who do develop the type of following that would garner the description ‘influencer’ are more interested in changing an industry, disrupting an idea, or leading a cause. Being that the nexus of next and new is what creates influencers. And for that, there is rarely a road map.
Most every influencer is striving to be something else — a leader, a coach, a champion, a change agent. The big work that they are doing is what drives the steps and choices that create influencers along the way. If ‘influencing’ is your goal, you have to start by engaging and creating memorable experiences. Once you know your goals and your ‘why’ focus on speaking passionately about your topic. Influencing means creating engaging experiences and hitting the mark on each and every message.