Media Relations | Public Affairs | Crisis Communications | Litigation Communications
How often do you or your clients say or hear the following, "I wish we could have initiated or at least better anticipated and shaped the story in today's Wall Street Journal?" You could and you should have. Strategic and effective media relations goes beyond issuing news releases and holding press conferences -- in fact, those approaches can often be counterproductive. Unless you are issuing a report on global warming or are truly announcing "front page" news, routine PR tactics can actually cause the news media to be less interested in your story.
Successful media relations requires the judgment and knowledge to know what elements are needed to "tell the story," and when to do so and to which media outlet and reporter to offer the story.
Our case studies illustrate the results we can derive from more than 15 years of working with the national news media, in a one-on-one capacity, and using this simple, yet surprisingly often ignored, approach.
PMPA's credo is much like that of an experienced lawyer or lobbyist who knows in front of which judge and which Member of Congress he or she is likely to get the best hearing, as well as when to present his or her case. An effective PR counsel should operate in much the same way.
In Washington, the answer to "what is public affairs" is based on whom you ask -- or, more appropriately, where you sit. We understand that whatever the issue, many legislative and litigation efforts become full-fledged "campaigns." Those that are successful reach beyond crafting the immediate "sound bite" and reacting to the latest congressional hearing or court decision. Instead, they identify and engage allies to help bring about a winning result.
Using decades-long political, not-for-profit and trade association relationships, PMPA is instrumental in adding voices to a debate that can validate and magnify an issue beyond merely the "interested parties." The best validations can range from environmental and consumer groups on one issue to senior citizen and anti-trust organizations on another.
And although we are not lobbyists, per se, our work with Members of Congress, their staffs, and even state attorneys general have helped bolster "campaigns" on behalf of our clients.
All too often PR professionals are ill-prepared for the unrelenting, high-degree of intense scrutiny that is the hallmark of the 24-hour-news-cycle "media frenzy." Newspapers, newsmagazines and cable networks are littered with stories of companies, celebrities and public officials who have relied on "their PR person" or publicist -- who is accustomed to garnering media attention to suddenly manage coverage under extremely adverse circumstances.
Many PR firms claim they do "crisis work," yet this is truly an art, not a science, and one that often does not fit within the traditional rubric of public relations services. The skills required to conceive and execute an effective crisis communications campaign are not the same as those deployed when generating publicity on behalf of a client. Successful crisis counsel requires containment, message discipline, and perseverance under the glare of the media spotlight. Although an honest and forthright public dissertation of the facts is often the right approach, knowing when not to feed the "media beast" is as important as knowing when to do so.
Peter Mirijanian has worked with individuals and companies whose reputations and corporate affairs have come under intense scrutiny. He has spoken on the topic before national television audiences.
The phrase "trying a case in public" is something that judges and attorneys claim they steadfastly oppose. Yet beginning with the O.J. trial right through the Microsoft anti-trust case, lawyers and even judges have keenly massaged the news media when it benefited their cause.
In this environment, it is critical that attorneys and their clients be prepared for "leaks" from the opposition so as not to be caught flat-footed when, whether they like it or not, a case becomes debated outside the courtroom.
We have worked with attorneys to inoculate their clients by briefing, on background, important national media outlets. If necessary, we help to place a "predicate" story that defines the case before the opposition does so and that inevitably influences the subsequent news coverage. Often, negotiations between parties that seem to be hopelessly deadlocked can take a 180 degree turn after the effect of a single story in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times.