We were asked recently:
“Do PR firms have special arrangements with media companies?”
While some of the largest firms in the industry certainly do have corporate partnerships with equally large media companies, for the most part, the relationships that exist in the media world are at a personal level. Individual account team members work to develop good working relationships with individual journalists and publishers over time, in specific verticals. These professional friendships keep lines of communication open so that when a journalist is looking for sources for an upcoming story, they call their short list of PR folks they’ve worked with successfully in the past.
These professional relationships are one of the top reasons to hire a PR firm – developing relationships as a source can take months or years of effort on your own. You cannot take shortcuts or accelerate the growth of friendships and good working relationships, so if you need results faster than can be measured in years, hiring a firm with many of those connections is typically the best solution.
This is also why it’s so vital for both you and whatever PR resources you work with to have deep connections to various media types. It’s just as important to have strong connections to Facebook-based communities of interest today as it is to have connections to the industry trade publication. It’s just as important to have “earned media” in the form of search listings (after all, Google is implicitly endorsing you when you’re the top result) as it is to have a newspaper front page story. This isn’t having a special arrangement with media companies so much as it is understanding how media works (and how to work with it) in today’s highly-distributed digital media world.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology