In public relations, persistence pays off

By Posted in - Blog & Media Relations & Public Relations on April 29th, 2014 0 Comments
Carry On by Brett Jordan

Image by Brett Jordan, creative commons license

There’s a very fine line between persistence and nagging. A very fine line. For public relations practitioners, the key to success is knowing where that line is drawn when it comes to building relationships with media contacts, clients and partners. Persistence pays off. Nagging kills relationships and makes you, well, a nag.

Not sure if you know where persistence ends and nagging begins? See which scenarios below you can best relate:

When pitching a story idea to an editor

  • Persistent: you continue to call an editor until you finally catch them on the phone, and then you present your story idea to them. You engage in a real, live conversation with the editor and allow them to determine what angle may or may not be a fit for their audience. The editor thanks you for calling because they missed your email and actually want to cover the story.


  • Nagging: you continue to call the editor and leave at least five voice mails. When you finally catch them on the phone and they tell you, “Yes, I received all five of your voice mails, and I’m still not interested,” you continue on trying to convince them otherwise. At wit’s end, the editor exasperatedly tells you to go away, and to stop calling.

When trying to get a client to respond to a media’s urgent interview request

  • Persistent: You try all ways possible to reach your client to present the interview opportunity: emails, phone calls, text messages. You let them know the urgency of the request and ask for a quick reply on whether or not they’re able to accommodate. If all else fails, you reach out to other members on your client team to find out if your client contact is unavailable, if someone else is qualified to participate in the opportunity. In short, you pursue all possible routes to success.


  • Nagging: You blow up your client’s email, phone and text line with every little, teensy, tiny question you can think to ask. You should send at least 237 messages to them per day, on average. Avoid thinking for yourself or making smart decisions at all costs – it’s better to ask your client (who clearly doesn’t have anything better to do) for every single minute detail, lest they think you don’t value their opinion. If they haven’t responded to your email in at least 30 minutes for a non-time sensitive request, resort to professional stalking techniques to reach them.

When trying to present a new consumer engagement strategy to your management team

  • Persistent: You gather trend data, build a sound business case, and use every possible opportunity to weave your strategy into the conversation with your management team. You show how the ideas will impact all areas of the business and build consumer loyalty, but also show the potential weak areas. You spend weeks, if not months, monitoring changes in the environment, and tweak your strategy as needed to accommodate. Finally, your CEO consents to try your strategy on a trial basis, to see if it gathers steam for a system wide roll-out.


  • Nagging: You hear through the grapevine about a new expensive marketing tool coming out. You tell anyone who will listen about it, but no one seems interested. You whine a lot about how no one listens to you. Then you whine some more. People start avoiding your calls and are late responding to your emails. When the CEO shoots your idea down once and for all, you pout in a corner and plot your next job move.

In public relations, persistence is definitely a virtue, whether it’s building solid relationships with media, presenting new ideas to a client or researching consumer engagement trends. It’s important to remember there will be many battles in the war. You certainly won’t win every battle, but persistent people look for new opportunities, re-trench after a set back, review past successes and failures as learning lessons and fight for the greater good of the organization.



Share this to keep the conversation going: