Members of the press as customers

By:  Lara Strazdin, PR Director

Just as customer relationship management (CRM) is critical to every business, so should good relations with members of the press be a priority. Journalists, in fact, may be regarded as particularly influential customers.

Many companies are in the bad habit of ignoring the media when they call asking for input or a quote for a story. Just as you would never ignore a customer calling for information, it’s important to respond promptly to media queries as well. Refraining from providing input for a story does not stop it from running. The resulting “Spokesperson    A-B-C had no comment” or “Company X-Y-Z could not be reached for comment at press time” in the paper or on the evening news only makes your organization appear to have something to hide.

Conversely, some companies go to the other extreme and harass the news media. Barraging a reporter with a volley of phone calls, e-mails, faxes and mailings is not the way to get your story covered. Rather, it’s a near guarantee that you will not get a return call or e-mail, and that your letter will end up in the trash, unopened.

Instead, seek to develop a relationship with the reporter, just as you would a prospective client. Ask questions about his or her business needs and wants, and familiarize yourself thoroughly with the organization (newspaper, television program or magazine). Leave short, succinct voice mail messages and send brief, concise e-mails with content clearly indicated in the subject line. And, in this age of e-mail viruses and worms, never send attachments unless specifically requested by a reporter

Still concerned about how best to cultivate relationships with the media and present your company or brand in the best possible light? Contact the P/O/N PR professionals for more pointers.

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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