Let me say this again—relationships are the backbone to successful public relations! My emphatic harping on that point often results in some good-natured eye rolling from my students, but it has been proven accurate time and time again. That’s not to say you constantly call up reporters, ask them about their weekend, and then proceed to pitch them the latest nonsense.
Maintaining a relationship is more about being responsive to reporters when they contact you for assistance. For example, I took a call several weeks ago from Claudia Deutsch from The New York Times. Deutsch is a highly respected business reporter whose relationship with University News dates back to our previous director. She is an engaging personality, an enterprising reporter, and—oh yeah—she works for The New York Times. It’s always a pleasure and honor to take her call.
Deutsch was preparing an article on Utek Corp., a technology transfer company with a unique business plan. As part of her research, she was scouting universities in a position to contract with such a company. I was happy to put her in contact with Varda Main, director of RIT’s Technology Licensing Office. Although RIT has no relationship with Utek, it did provide an opportunity to highlight our technology licensing activities.
The article, including a quote from Main, appeared in last Thursday’s paper. It’s great publicity for a university committed to growing its patent portfolio.
I may not have the occasion to speak with Claudia Deutsch for another year or more. Who knows? But I do know the ability of our office to respond to her inquiries will nearly guarantee she calls again. And if I should be in a position to pitch an idea her way, I’m certain she will take my call, knowing that I’m respectful of her time and intelligence.
Yeah, go ahead and roll your eyes at me, but I’m telling you, it’s all about relationships!