If you’re doing it right, part of the job in PR is to bust myths.
Too often, clients, executives and anyone else we’re supposed to be helping think because they consume news, they understand how and under what circumstances news is made. They think the way the way things worked at one time still holds today. It’s our job, regularly, to be the reality check.
But some days, now, it feels like we’re part of a myth – namely the story of Sisyphus, who spent his days pushing a boulder up hill.
Unlike Sisyphus, though, for us it’s not punishment. It’s just the way of the world. In trying to get news coverage, we’re competing against some of the biggest and most complex ongoing news stories we’ll ever see – all happening at the same time.
We will list the coverage priorities here, as we’ve had to a few times lately for those not engrossed in the day-to-day effort of newsmaking:
-Societal upheaval about race relations, with daily protests and calls for change in local communities nationwide
-A virus that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and continues without a treatment or vaccine
-An economic collapse that continues to claim more jobs by the week.
All of this is being covered by newsrooms that are creating products consumed at high levels they haven’t been years while staffed at their lowest levels, probably ever. It’s still surprising to many even one step removed that some of the nation’s largest news-owning corporations are furloughing their employees for as much as one week per month, in essence running at 75% capacity every day.
What happens when your PR team says can’t place your idea for a story, or it can’t like it did four months ago, never mind four years ago? You should be getting an explanation about what’s happening and how it affects what you want to be news. To some, it sounds like excuse-making. But the honest, PR types are having conversations with those who hire them about what’s realistic and what strategies and timing might make sense, even if it all has to shift from day to day, as the news environment changes at least that fast.
We’ll keep pushing that boulder uphills, just in different ways. If we’re doing it right – we’re Sisyphus, but with a plan.