Considering that it was my first day of working with a new team and knowing the clientele, I had minimum knowledge about the brand as well as the sector they cater to. Although the press release’s announcement was clear in its messaging, I hadn’t built my relations with the media in the field that message needed to be sent. But as a new member of the team, I also had to prove myself and be able to complete the task at hand.
I immediately got down to reaching out to the media based on my research and observations. As per the press release announcement, I also checked for journalist covering similar stories and reached out to them. Despite the limited number of publications that I reached out to, I was able to get some feedback. Journalists did mention that the headline of the release and the messaging was coming off as too promotional or not being news worthy. This was also one of the reasons I felt other journalist were not responding or taking interest in the announcement.
After sharing this feedback with the team, we immediately got down to tweaking the content. Utilizing the numbers shared in the release as well as making minor changes, the team then shared a revised release with the media. With this, we were able to garner stories in a few mainstream publications as well as other online publications. While the team was able to salvage the situation, there was still a lesson to be learnt here.
Need for guidance
The team should have guided and shared knowledge about the brand, the activities they conduct and the stories that they are looking out for. As the team had been working alongside the client for a longer time, they would have more information as to what stories the brand was looking for. Giving the task to a member who weren’t given time to understand the brand’s needs thus led to a delay in completing the task skillfully.
The reason for pointing this out is to also highlight upon one of the reasons the media is wary about PR approach in India. PR professionals have seen many social media posts and rants from journalists admonishing them from approaching without proper research. While experienced professionals are able to avoid these mistakes, we often forget to guide the younger ones from repeating it. The press announcement that I was tasked to share could have led to the brand’s messaging either being ridiculed publicly or have been misconstrued into a different story altogether.
Taking feedback and improving on the strategy is an admirable and sought after quality in a leader. But at the same time, it is also important for leaders to be able to guide their colleagues and workers in order to have a productive and positive outcome.