“Make something yourself.”
Little did I know, those three words from my mother during a visit home from college would spark one of my greatest passions: Cooking.
It also didn’t hurt that my mom happened to be watching a meatball throwdown on Food Network.
“That looks delicious,” I thought, as I watched the Long Island chef combine the ingredients in his Italian grandmother’s century-old recipe.
One quick trip to the grocery store later, I was ready to do the same thing. The result, from someone who only knew how to cobble together a sandwich or scramble some eggs, was astounding. A dish that almost tasted like it came from the kitchen of a checkered tablecloth restaurant.
So, what does this have to do with public relations? I’ve only been in the industry for one month following a seven-year career as a local TV news reporter, but, just like cooking, I’ve learned that it takes the right combination of ‘ingredients’—research, storytelling, and persistence—to achieve success.
Not only do you have to know what it is you are pitching, you need to know who you’re targeting. One of the best ways to determine if a reporter or editor is the right match for your pitch is to read their stories. Browsing the ‘latest articles’ section for a specific reporter or seeing who they follow on Twitter can help determine if your client’s brand can align with their coverage.
Storytelling is what drove my passion as a reporter. Every day brought something different—the chance to meet interesting characters, see what makes them tick, and give the viewer a window into their lives. Storytelling, I’ve found, is a relevant skill in public relations After all, it’s easier to grab people’s attention with a captivating narrative than facts and figures. While my cast of characters is now more consistent, it is still my role to tell enthralling stories to bring a client’s message to life.
In news, I learned rather quickly the importance of persistence. I knocked on countless doors, talked to thousands of people, and faced far more rejection than acquiescence to my requests for comments and interviews. Public relations requires the same persistence and tenacity on behalf of the clients I serve. Sometimes amazing results can be achieved simply by following up and not accepting the silence of a non-reply as the answer.
Just like perfecting a recipe, being successful in public relations takes practice. In that time, however, you can also learn from more experienced ‘cooks’ to achieve something that is more palatable to the senses than when first starting out in the kitchen.
But, start with these three key ingredients, and your public relations efforts are off to a strong start.