Why your publicist is worth her weight in gold

by Booth Media Group

“All you need is a good story.” While it would be nice to get results based on merit alone, part of the value of a good PR firm is their contacts. Though having a relationship with a producer is certainly not a guarantee of a booking, it can sometimes be the difference between getting your story heard and the email being deleted unopened. The best story in the world doesn’t mean anything if the person it’s pitched to doesn’t read emails from strangers or is in the wrong department. And yes, it is true that anyone can pitch anyone anything – you don’t HAVE to be a PR professional to leave a voicemail – but when your publicist has spent the time and energy getting to know who prefers email and who prefers to be pitched on Twitter and what their names are and when they’re most likely to respond, that effort means that her email is more likely to be opened, read, and replied to favorably.

Another part of this myth is the angle of the story. Yes, it helps when the story is “good.” We can all get drawn into a compelling tale of injustice, love, or adventure, for example. But some stories are more complex and require a deft hand to unpeel their layers and show the best angles to the press. Your publicist is experienced at taking any story, looking at the news of the day and what the press wants now, and making the two meet in the perfect pitch. And that is worth its weight in gold.

“You must send a press release.” A press release is a time-honored method of sharing news with media outlets. In the days before the internet made instant information sharing a thing toddlers can understand, the press release was the best way of sharing information accurately. But in an era when reporters receive too many emails to open much less read in a day, the publicist’s job is much more complex. Of course the press release is still a valuable tool, but now it must be carefully crafted and intentionally pitched. And we must remember that it’s not a guarantee of results. It must be accompanied by the personality and persistence that make a publicist so effective.

These are two PR myths that are important for clients to understand, especially if they are new to this game. You could have the best story in the world, with a pretty solid press release, but the relationships that your publicist has nurtured with the media and the skill she or he has developed for appropriately pitching that story are so priceless.