When I was a television reporter, my colleagues used to joke I was lucky because I always seemed to have at least one solid news story idea at our daily morning meetings. I used to kid, “It’s better to be lucky than good,” but I honestly knew that those stories didn’t magically come my way.
I cultivated sources, was on continuous lookout for opportunities, and I read. A lot. After all, reporters are only as good as their last big story. You have to keep feeding the beast.
That applies to public relations. To be successful is a constant process of knowing what your company/business/client is doing, following the national/local/trade stories being reported and by whom, and how to penetrate the news cycle with an idea.
While reading the Milwaukee Business Journal (MBJ), I noticed a full-page promotional ad for the “Business of Beer,” an event featuring some of the movers and shakers in the beer industry. I skimmed the names of those involved, and four out of five beer companies had a direct connection to our client, Sprinkman Brewing Systems, a division of W.M. Sprinkman Corporation.
Knowing that the MBJ would be heavily promoting this event, I thought an executive profile about Sprinkman’s president and the company’s major Milwaukee-based projects was timely and a way to spur event momentum.
I reached out to a reporter and editor and they bought off on the idea. President Brian Sprinkman was featured in the MBJ a week before “Business of Beer” took place. The article was in the MBJ’s highlighted issue which was on display at the May 24th event with some 200+ people in attendance.
From here, this print and online placement (seen by thousands) can be leveraged in the company’s social media, enews, on their website and in sales collateral. Over time, there will even be a need to follow up with a new story angle.
Creating media possibilities is only one element of the PR process. The key is the ability to recognize when that moment of good fortune has arrived.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Success loves preparation. Are you prepared?”
Benjamin Franklin by David Rent Etter, after Charles Willson Peale, after David Martin (1835) NPS photo