In a previous posting I implored communicators to avoid being afraid of entering the public domain. After a recent experience with a getting a story published, I thought I’d add three more Ps for PR: persistence, patience and professionalism.
Nearly 18 months ago our firm won a piece of business from a small health care trade association that represented a very specific segment of the long term care industry. Part of their reasons for seeking a communications firm was that they had serendipitously received positive coverage in two national publications and wanted to pursue more opportunities.
Given that the two placements the client received shortly before engaging us were in The New York Times and USA Today, we knew there were not a lot of options left for a placement in a national newspaper. In pursuing the story, we quickly zeroed in on an editor at a national news service with whom we had a good working relationship and who was known for placing stories in The Washington Post. After positive feedback on our original pitch and a promise to take a hard look at the subject, the editor’s attention was consumed by the process of health reform. Even after a reporter was assigned, the story moved in fits and starts as health reform dominated the news.
In the course of this process, Stanton Communications and the client parted ways on excellent terms at the contract’s conclusion. We had successfully positioned the association and its members in media outlets that included numerous local publications, trade outlets, as well as a national magazine’s editor’s blog, and a national broadcast news story. Without the resources to continue, the client assumed the outstanding article would not be written despite our reassurances to be patient, and that we would support them pro-bono when the time came. Throughout this time, we repeatedly contacted the editor and reporter with additional information and related issues
Late last month everybody’s patience and persistence was rewarded when a story highlighting the client’s care model ran above the fold on the front page of the Post’s Health Section. The day the story was published I looked back at the first email I sent the editor: it was 14 months prior.
In today’s media environment being persistent and patient are important in achieving your client’s goals, but so is professionalism. By that I mean the professionalism to trust an editor when she says she likes the story and will do it, and the professionalism we exhibit when we promise to see a story through for a former client.
Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is famous for saying, “When the fundamentals are right, good things will happen.” In our business, patience, persistence, and professionalisms are the fundamentals that make good things happen.