Myth No. 2: Personal, closed-door relationships between press agents and editors make all the difference.
Reality: Journalists are looking for better stories, not better friends.
“Sometimes people in other lines of business believe successful media relations are a result of having personal, closed-door relationships, like over beers or something,” says Denise Bentele, president and CEO of Common Ground Public Relations, Inc. This couldn’t be less true. In the real world, a press agent’s job is to cultivate multiple stories with relevance for his or her client’s business.
Because so many business owners believe this falsehood, they think all it takes for good media relations is hiring a local public relation’s person who’s tied in with local media. “In reality,” as Bentele explains, “a good media relations person should be able to speak with almost any reporter and at least have a healthy dialogue about an issue, whether the reporter chooses to pursue the story or not.”
Mark Bretz, owner of Bretz Public Relations, explains that personal relationships are important for him in the sense of opening doors, but as a professional public relations practitioner, it’s his obligation to ensure that his news pitch has substantial value. “If an editor doesn’t believe the story I pitch has merit, he won’t do it,” Bretz said.