Subway Rides on the (P)R Train
By Michelle Suconick
Like most New Yorkers, (I’m actually from Connecticut but who’s checking) I spend plenty of time on the subway. Enough time to realize that both public relations and riding the subway have more in common than one might think.
Always keep an eye out. Sure, that suspicious looking man with a bag full of iPhones is someone to be mindful of, just like your client’s competitors. Set up a Google Alert for your client’s competitors and you’ll be kept on track with journalists interested in the same topic, likely those who’ll want to write about your client as well. Simpler than swiping your Metrocard, this is a really effective way to learn about a new journalist you might have otherwise missed.
Wait, can you still feel that smartphone in your pocket? While PR alertness has less to do with pickpocketers than checking Twitter, the same intensity is needed to keep yourself informed on what’s being said right now about your clients and their industry. Being aware of what your top targets are tweeting about could lead to new pitch ideas and even give you some inside scoop about a journalist’s personal interests, helpful for phone calls and more personalized emails.
Similarly, following daily headlines is key. What’s trending today could be old news tomorrow, so it’s vital to read (or who are we kidding- scan) the news often to keep pitches fresh and new story ideas flowing. I mean, after all, nobody likes missing the train (see what I did there).
While on the subject of train puns- if the train is broken, fix it. As an AAE, I’ve certainly experienced days where journalists just don’t seem to respond to emails. On those slow days when the G train seems to be arriving faster than a journalist’s response, it might be time to rethink a pitch. Never underestimate the power of a five minute brainstorming session or a quick Twitter scan of what’s trending. Once you get those wheels rolling again, just stay on for the ride and hope someone writes something good.