The PR industry has changed a lot and while we've always been told to “think like a journalist,” the opportunity to “act like a journalist” is newly upon us.
When we deliver a pitch to journalists, we are providing all the materials needed to build a rich story and make it their own. Now, we can do all the building ourselves. To take advantage of these new technologies and act like a journalist, we need to adjust the way we approach our work. We have to commit ourselves to research and develop, produce, and deliver finished stories directly to an audience that will be relevant and valuable.
To create a journalistic video-based story of our own, it's important to think through the objective we are trying to accomplish. Are we driving people to an event? Do we want our audience to write to someone in Congress? Do we want them to buy something?
Once this objective is clear, we must think about how the piece needs to be shaped to move people to accomplish said objective.
After that, we get into the nitty-gritty details: How can we get the right messages across? What's the tone? Is the lighting right? Is the sound good? Does our subject sound authentic and at ease? What kind of music should we include to communicate the right emotion? How long should it be? What visuals or photography should be included to enhance the story?
As you can see, acting like a journalist requires a new set of skills. Because of this, we also need to shift what skills we are looking for in the staff we hire. The simplest solution would be to hire a journalist who has a great mix of skills that include writing, video shooting and editing, photography, social media strategic thinking, audience development, and practical execution. However, many experienced as well as young PR pros are developing these skills to enhance their strategic PR chops.
Next time we set out to pull together all of the materials to give to a journalist to build a story, we should consider building it ourselves. We now have more control over the stories and results that we can deliver on the corporate side or as agencies to clients.
Al Krueger is a partner at Comet Branding and PR.