Is an “in-person” meeting with journalists really effective?
One of the key tasks of PR consultants is to meet journalists. Meetings with journalists are inevitable in order for them to communicate with journalists on behalf of their clients. The practice stems from an empirical “belief” that the good relationship with journalists results in successful promotions of the client and its products/services.
In fact, not a few PR consultants witness that the stories they pitched are published in media by the journalist they met. This is partly because the journalist has deepen understanding about the company and industry the PR consultant promoted at the “in-person” meeting, which is more interactive than a brief phone call. Personal intimacy between the journalist and PR consultant may also affect the outcome, i.e. the publication of the story.
It is evident that an in-person meeting with journalists is deemed to have a positive effect on the success of promotion. There are few experts, however, who can explain analytically how effective the meeting would be. Many simply provide explanation of the needs for the in-person meeting based on their own “experience”.
It doesn’t matter only if the explanations are suited well for the context. Their arguments will be adequately convincing and trustworthy. Still, the arguments alone would not seem fully acceptable to those who have either insufficient understanding of PR or negative views towards it. Now, it is time when a detailed basis should be presented based on data analytics.
Fortunately, Prain Global systematically manages the work-related data through the SOMA, an intranet developed as early as in 2001, which may provide credible answers if those data are analyzed in an appropriate fashion.
To find answers, we looked into the data on a client who tended to put an emphasis on the relationship with journalists. Consultants of Prain Global, on behalf of the client, had in-person meetings with journalists very often (have met 1,350 journalists in total on a cumulative basis over the last 4 years, which led to an increase of news coverage). Thus, we thought the data were viable enough to be used for an analysis.
The data used in the analysis consisted of the amount of news coverage and tone (positive, neural or negative) by media, PR Value (calculation of weighted value for Advertising Value Equivalency), and number of times of meeting with journalists, etc.
As we wanted to know correlation between the meeting with journalists and the success of PR activities, a linear regression analysis was performed with the number of times of meeting with journalists being set as an independent variable and the amount of news coverage by tone (amount of news with positive tone vs with negative tone), and PR Value being set as dependent variables. What we found from the analysis are presented in the table below.