I found that being in public relations really isn’t at all about the first word. It really revolves around the second. “Relations“ is the key.
The July 4th holiday is right around the corner, and some PR pros think of it as a wasted opportunity to pitch stories to the media as, unless some kid takes off his pinkie with an M-80 (which will happen), not much local happens. Having been on the other side for 17 years, I can’t disagree more. No one likes working on the holiday. Whether you are waiting tables, selling retail or sitting in the newsroom, everyone despises the fact they’re not at the pool grilling hotdogs.
So, because of the “second word” holidays become a great time for us PR folks to work harder.
July 4th is a weird holiday. It’s during “the book.” July is one of the four sweeps periods (the others are February, May and November) where television advertising rates are calculated…and because of that no one is allowed time off. I missed being a Best Man for a May wedding FYI.
However, of all four of the books, July is the month that only some newsrooms enforce. Meaning in some cases you’ll have the chief meteorologist working. Other shops in the same market will have the back-up-weekend-morning-anchor doing the shows. Veteran reporters often choose not to take that day off as they get time and a half for a holiday, and rarely are managers in the newsroom…both a huge plus. Sorry, I digress. My point is…the stations still must feed the news monsters…even on holidays. So yes, pitch away.
However, even if my pitching partners don’t have a story to sell, call your local desk folks this weekend to ask who will be in on Tuesday’s holiday. Set the stage for a quick visit on Tuesday just after the morning meeting (around 10:15am) and bring something to eat. Arrive with something that will last for several hours just sitting on the assignment desk. Bagels are ok, doughnuts are fine, sub sandwiches work well.
Don’t bring it for the anchors…no matter if they are the “A team” or not, they will show up late, head directly to the bathroom to do their make up to cut the promo and complain about working on the holiday. Instead, bring it to the assignment desk, and when you arrive talk to the producer as well. Those folks are the gatekeepers.
Make sure you leave your card behind for the desk.
Sometimes this strategy works better if you have nothing to pitch. But regardless, friends, remember the “R” in PR.
About the Author: Media Relations is Robb Yagmin of PSPR’s jam. Public Relations is his second career. After holding the microphone for 17 years, he now specializes in coaching how to talk to the media to C-Level brass, as well as others from non-profit folks to mommy bloggers. He excels at pitching the media, because essentially, it is him pitching him.
Check out PSPR to learn more about his company.