Rules to the PR Game

The term “public relations” consists of two words, “public” and “relations.” Relations with the public are publicists’ inventories. Relationships are the most valuable assets in publicists’ portfolios. The most valuable relationships are those with the media because they in turn produce relationships with the greater public.

And by media we mean both the traditional media—print and television news reporters—as well as the new media—bloggers, podcasters, and social networkers.

Generally, you won’t see immediate results because these types of relationships must be nurtured. It’s a slow, deliberate process like erecting a brick wall: firmly and precisely placing, aligning, adjusting and mortaring one brick at a time, row after row, until the wall is completed.

However, unlike a brick wall, your relationship with the media is never complete—you must always continue building.

The Rules

You can’t win the publicity game if you don’t know the rules. Only fools play high-stakes poker without knowing whether a flush beats a straight. Yet that’s precisely what you’re doing when you don’t know the rules that govern relationships with the media.

Since the media holds all the cards, they make the rules. If you want to play at their table, you have to adhere to their rules. Ironically, there are only three rules and they’re alarmingly simple:

  1. You are a resource for the media.
  2. It’s never personal. It’s always about the story and its impact.
  3. The media can always change its mind, but you can’t. At any time, it can revise, cut, postpone or even kill a story it agreed to run.

By adhering to their rules, the media will consider you a professional, someone they can rely on and with whom they’ll do business.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Sunday Tips”
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