What is the PR Beat?
Most reporters are assigned to a “beat” and they develop an expertise in a certain area (business, local government, style, etc.). This helps the reporter gain a depth of knowledge in a certain aspect of coverage. By the way, that is why it is so important to carefully target reporters.
Today, Media Link’s new Barks and Bites newsletter ran an editorial by Wayne Pollard, president of Hunter-Pollard, called, PR Can Save Itself by Hiring Hacks, Not Just Flacks.
He also mentioned that he first published this idea in a blog comment at Idea Grove in November.
Unlike Pollard, I don’t believe that you need to have been a journalist to be good at media relations. However, I do think that you need to have journalistic sensibilities.
Your company and what it does is your “beat.” Gather news ideas (as opposed to marketing pitches) that you think might appeal to a general audience and make a list of all of the available resources (human and otherwise), to pass on to reporters.
You should be a first-rate research assistant for reporters. If you do this well, they will start to call you regularly for assistance.
By thinking of yourself as an embedded reporter inside your company, you can develop the “nose for news” necessary to be successful at media relations.