As an intern at Witz Communications, I get to observe and learn from skilled and passionate people, while learning the ins and outs of a public relations agency. What I’ve come to realize is that relationships are the true foundation of everything they do.
What a publicist is to a celebrity, Witz is to technology companies. Whatever a company wants relaid to the press, the Witz team is in charge of making it happen. This is easier said than done. “Everything about media relations is hard,” said Jas McDonald, member of the media relations team. “It’s so dependent on other people and you can’t make them respond.” The solution? Relationships. The goal is to be more than just a name in someone’s inbox, something that doesn’t just happen overnight.
The team has been able to cultivate relationships by attending events and proactively engaging with journalists, reporters, and analysts. Maintaining those relationships over time can be as simple as liking a tweet or grabbing coffee with a local journalist every once in a while. They also have to continue to think proactively as they attend events by planning to meet with people when traveling to trade shows, or other events.
These relationships are the driving factor for everything Witz does. Their goal is to connect companies to their desired audiences through coverage of new clients, products, events and more. Witz is the liaison between the media and the client. People like Jas help generate and facilitate conversations with the hope that it will lead to coverage, such as a news article, a feature story, or even a speaking opportunity.
While there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to get the job done, Witz has come up with a few “best practices”:
Know the reporter and cater your pitch to them. In Jas’ words, “Don’t pitch them on apples when they write about string cheese.”
Make people feel like you genuinely connect with them, and then go for the professional ask.
Utilize your own skills. Not everyone makes connections or builds relationships the same, so know what you do well and use that.
Thanks to the Witz team, I have seen classroom concepts come to life and been exposed to several different aspects of public relations. In this industry, there’s no denying that relationship building and effective communication are skills worth perfecting.