An Overlooked and Undervalued PR Tip

May 30 2022

To share its 30-year anniversary with all PR and communications professionals around the globe, the Public Relations Global Network is sharing 30 pearls of wisdom from its senior members and agency leaders.

The 30 pearls – some of the network members’ best tips and advice polished in the past 30 years and dazzling to show direction for the next decades in PR and communications – were published in an eBook at PRGN’s anniversary meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May 2022. The eBook is also available for downloads on the opening page of the PRGN website.

Below is one of the 30 pearls from members, expanded to fit PRGN’s regular blog series. It is written by Anne Buchanan, one of the founders of PRGN, a two-time former President, former chair of PRGN's Training and Development Committee and currently Regional Vice President for The Americas. Anne is President of Buchanan Public Relations, PRGN’s partner agency in Philadelphia.

The strongest PR tip I have to offer is neither glamorous nor original – but it has stood the test of time. Become a regular consumer of news.

consuming news
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Make it a practice to read at least one daily newspaper every day. Regularly listen to news on the radio. I am an ardent fan of NPR. Watch the evening news. 

You don’t have to give up Google alerts; they certainly have their purpose. But do not let alerts replace regular consumption of the news.

PR now encompasses a variety of story-sharing tactics ranging from TikTok videos to speeches. But the Holy Grail of PR remains earned media coverage. It is difficult to trump a timely placement in a respected media outlet. Earned media is viewed with higher credibility and has the added benefit of enhancing SEO. 

That’s why becoming a regular student of the media is so valuable.

If you make news consumption a regular habit, I guarantee you will enjoy the following:

  • Your mind will begin to churn with ideas for your organization or your clients. When I finish reading a paper, I often have multiple story ideas for clients.
  • This is one of the best ways to find stories to “news hijack” your company or clients into.
  • You will become a better writer.
  • You will learn what constitutes a good story.
  • You’ll gain an appreciation for “news hierarchy,” especially if you hold a paper in your hands and notice where stories are slotted in the paper.
  • You will develop a deeper sense of which reporters like which stories. This goes beyond the beat information you will find in a media database.
  • You’ll be able to counsel your leadership or clients better because you understand the media better.
  • You will be able to converse easily on a wide range of topics.
  • You’ll stand out from the competition. Few take the time these days to truly consume the news.

Yes, it’s a pretty basic suggestion. But it’s one you can implement today and start seeing immediate dividends.

Anne Buchanan
President, Buchanan Public Relations
Anne Buchanan founded Buchanan Public Relations in 1998, applying a diverse background in strategic communications that included leadership positions in agency, corporate, government and media environments. Her particular strengths are strategy, crisis communications and social media. Anne is a founding member of PRGN and served as President of the network from 2006 – 2007 and remains on the organization’s Executive Committee. She is also active in the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and has been a member of the board of directors at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.
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