PR Notes- Media Relations Success Despite Being Unfamiliar with Market Space

For years we’ve all seen the job announcements seeking a PR person with specific industry experience.  For example, a company specializing in collaborative work spaces requires a media relations person with real estate experience.  I make the following observation as a result of many years of successful media relations across a wide range of industries.  Even with that disclaimer, it will sound antithetical to many recruiters and HR folks. EXPERIENCE IN A VERTICAL DOESN’T ENSURE MEDIA RELATIONS SUCCESS.

Take a moment to catch your breath.  Let’s examine further.  Consider the following real-life scenario.  I have at least two successful editorial relationships at our regional business journal and major metro newspaper.  The editors cover a mix of technology and business related news.  I could theoretically qualify for any posting that requires business and technology experience.  The real question is whether or not my industry related experience ensures media relations success versus another PR person who may not possess the same experience in a particular vertical space?

In my humble opinion, the answer is no, not necessarily:)  If I were the recruiter or HR person seeking to find the media relations professional for the real estate client, I would focus on the following 3 components:

Top 3 Qualities/PR Professional:

  1. Strategic thinker- All PR should be conducted based on sales and marketing objectives.  Any PR content/media outreach should be targeted to help achieve a specific objective.  In other words, regardless of industry experience, a strategic think will determine the objective before initiating any content or media outreach.
  2. News/PR background- Successful PR content/media relations requires a background/education in news and PR.  The content must be created to address news topics such as best practices and thought leadership.  The use of traditional marketing speak is a relationship killer.
  3. Experience- Successful execution of PR campaigns requires prior experience to create strategic plans/content to help achieve sales and marketing objectives, including securing target media placements.  Despite a lack of experience in a particular industry, overall successful media relations utilizing the components above is a must.  The chances of success will be high in a new industry such as real estate if you can duplicate experiences from another vertical.

When seeking media relations help don’t be afraid to “think outside of the box” to determine the best candidate.  Search for a strategic thinker with a news/pr background and someone with a history of successful media relations campaigns across a wide range of markets.