A problem that a public relations firm may encounter in the first few weeks working with a new client or continue through the length of a relationship is client availability difficulties. It is understandable given that a client is busy running their company, but when a business commits to PR they need to recognize it may not always be at a convenient time.
For some clients, availability isn’t even remotely an issue. They will speak to any reporter at any time or be at a studio at a moment’s notice. However for other clients, particularly large corporations, media opportunities need to be planned weeks or even months in advance to fit into a CEO’s schedule.
Keep in mind; we live in a 24-hour news cycle so reporters are on tighter deadlines than seen in previous years. News happens and then it passes on to another story in a matter of minutes. That being said, clients need to recognize a media opportunity that presents itself at 10AM in the morning, may not be there 3PM that afternoon. PR professionals have to find a delicate balance between scheduling media and also respecting a client’s schedule.
To ensure that media opportunities don’t get lost in the shuffle, PR experts should always ask for a client’s availability at the start of each workweek. This way, we know straight off the start of the week what times or days are best. Also, when breaking news does come up and media requests come in for hard to schedule clients or even those clients that are typically pretty flexible, it is vital that the PR person describes why the opportunity is important for the client to participate in.
Clients can see a media opportunity and not know that much about an outlet or think it may not be worth their time. It is the PR firm’s job to explain why they should be apart of the interview or go on television for that segment.
Following these basic steps can ensure that media is still an important pillar for a client’s business as well as maintaining respect for packed schedules.