News & Commentary Straight from Think HQ

Commentary March 16, 2017

Get to know: Alice Suter

Our resident food expert Alice has led national media relations campaigns for government and not for profit clients. With almost five years' experience at Think HQ, Alice has a few tricks up her sleeve for getting that story placed.

You’ve successfully delivered national media relations campaigns for government and NFP clients. What are the key factors to a successful media campaign?

Successful media campaigns can look different for different projects and clients – more media clips doesn’t necessarily equate to a more effective campaign.

If it’s an issue that relates to the masses, a widely distributed media release might be the best approach. If it’s something more niche, pitching a few key interviews, or securing a carefully placed op-ed could have a greater impact (and for less effort).

Successful media relations is about knowing your audience and your objectives, and choosing the best approach for reaching that end goal. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

What’s one piece of advice you have for working with the media?

Don’t pitch a story that you know isn’t strong. It’s a waste of your time, and the journalist probably won’t appreciate it either. Know what makes news and what they kind of stories your target media outlet runs. If it’s not newsworthy now, sit on it for a while until you have something important enough to say, or until you can tie it into something topical.

(For more on this, come to our Media Relations Refresh breakfast workshop on 28 March!)

With the rise of social media, the traditional media landscape is changing fast. How do you see the relationship between PR and journalists developing?

There are less journalists and they have less time to produce stories than ever. As PR professionals, that probably makes our job more important than ever.

My top tips for building good relationships with time-poor journalists are:

  • Do your research – Know what they write about and why they’d be interested in the story you want to tell. Personalise your approach by showing them you know what they’re looking for.
  • Don’t waste their time – Over email and on the phone, get straight to the point. They’ll appreciate the directness. Know their deadlines and lead-times and give them enough time to decide how they might cover your story.
  • Give them good content and talent – Journalists appreciate stories that are timely, and relevant to their audience. Consistently offering them great spokespeople, case studies and solid data will go a long way in building rapport.

What have been some of your highlights in your (almost) five years at Think HQ?

I’ve loved working on interesting and challenging projects that tackle important issues, and learning from a great group of talented people.

Looking back, winning our first Federal Government contract in 2012 was a huge deal!

Working with the Scanlon Foundation to shine a light on its important work in the social cohesion space has been another highlight.

Perhaps most rewarding of all though, has been witnessing Think HQ’s evolution from small PR business to full-service agency. To see our amazing team now working on high profile PR campaigns, producing incredible websites, videos and beautifully designed print publications in-house – all the while holding strong on our mission and values – is just really cool!