I’m coming to you from the riverbanks of Montana on my annual fly-fishing trip. Each summer, my husband and I take a short break from the chaos of life to slow down, unwind, and reconnect with nature.
Before heading off to the river this morning, we had a brief discussion with our fishing guide. “Which river is fishing best today? What kind of bait are the fish eating? What time do we need to leave?” You know – the basics. In that moment, it dawned on me that fly-fishing and public relations are one in the same! Both take a considerable amount of research, strategy, and flawless execution to come out a winner.
You have to read and understand the water.
Much like a seasoned PR professional studies the media, a seasoned angler has studied the river, knows exactly where the fish like to hang out, knows what bugs are native to the area, and ultimately, knows exactly what it’s going to take to land that fish. In order to be successful as a PR professional, you have to know what type of content is native to the publication, which writers are hanging out in which beats, and what news angle is going to get them to bite!
You’ll need to switch up your bait.
Inside any given fly shop, there are hundreds of different kinds of flies to choose from! Just like people, fish like to dine on a wealth of different foods. The same fly won’t attract the same kind of fish from one day to the next, so you’ll need to switch up your bait constantly to keep the fish interested. The same goes for pitching reporters. At this PR agency, we tailor every single pitch to fit the specific needs and interests of the writers. If they don’t bite the first time, we switch it up and try something new until we are successful.
Jump quickly on the hatch!
Every angler knows that the best time to go fly fishing is right at the height of an insect hatch. The fish are in feeding-frenzy mode and you can pick up dozens upon dozens in a single morning. But that hatch generally lasts no more than 24 hours, so you have to be observant at all times and quick to act! This same scenario can be likened to breaking news. Reporters everywhere are chomping at the bit for information, sources, expert commentary, etc. Much like the hatch, you need to be observant and you need to be quick to capitalize on the media frenzy! The story is often dead by the end of the day, and the newsroom bellies are full.
The early bird gets the worm.
In fly-fishing, you want to be the first one in the water. Why? Because the fish stop biting after they’ve been hooked a time or two. This applies to reporters as well. They won’t bite on the same story twice, so you better be swift and make sure your “bait” is the first to reach their inbox.
When done right, it is art…
Happy fishing, friends!