By Eric R. Gerard, senior vice president
Great Ink Communications
Over the past two decades, the entire media landscape has changed dramatically.
The explosion of the web, email and social media has radically changed the news cycle and the way media relations specialists interact with journalists. Gone are the days of weekly or even daily deadlines. Today’s news cycle is truly 24/7.
Since Great Ink Communications was founded nearly 25 years ago, our firm has ridden the wave of this media explosion by staying true to some core principles: We are a boutique firm dedicated exclusively to the service of commercial and multi-family residential real estate firms and related services companies.
Great Ink takes a journalist’s approach to media relations.
In fact, more than half of our account representatives are former journalists, and the majority of our employees have been with the firm for more than a decade, providing a depth of real estate experience not found at other, larger firms.
A cornerstone of this approach is respect for the reporters, editors and producers we work with. Their time is valuable, and by and large journalists are an underpaid and over-worked lot. It is imperative that your media relations firm knows what the outlets and journalists cover, what their deadlines are and how they prefer to be contacted.
It is also important that you don’t waste their time. Not all of your clients’ announcements are newsworthy, and it is the role of the media relations specialist to not only target the right reporters at the right publications, but not to send items in email blasts that are meaningless to the majority of the recipients.
Publicists who do this will soon find their addresses relegated to journalists’ spam folders.
Great Ink also is very selective in the clients we represent. Among our cardinal rules is that we work on a non-competitive basis, representing only one company in any area of the business at one time.
When a request comes in from a reporter, we don’t want to have to choose which client gets to be interviewed that day. We want to be able to fight wholeheartedly for every client, every day.
Surprisingly, this policy has not limited Great Ink’s ability to grow, as there are myriad businesses that touch on and want to communicate with the real estate industry.
We enjoy this business, and continually learning about different aspects, specialties, asset categories and disciplines.
Our firm is not only dedicated to the service of our clients, but also — and sometimes more importantly — to the service of the journalists and publications that cover the real estate industry.
This means that if a reporter calls looking for sources, we go the extra mile to help them find them, even if they aren’t in our current stable of clients.
Better to provide the media with what they need to do their jobs than to try to “fit” your client into a story where they don’t have any particular expertise.
This approach insures that journalists and their editors come to you when they are working on a story and that the process becomes more of a two-way street.
Clients come and go, but journalists tend to move up the ladder in their selected field from publication to publication, and these strong relationships — based on mutual respect and consideration — go a long way in securing the long-term success of a media relations firm.
As media outlets and social channels continue to grow, it may be easy for some public relations people to lull themselves into thinking that simply sending a press release out on the wire service or
to a batch email list will suffice.
But Great Ink has always taken a personal approach to the business of media relations.
Establishing long-term relationships with the media, following-up with journalists, staying up to date on new reporters covering the industry and “beat” changes within key outlets, and going the extra mile to make sure the needs of the press are met are all keys to delivering the kind of consistent, positive coverage our clients enjoy.