Public Relations

What Mushroom Hunting and Public Relations Have in Common

By May 9, 2016 No Comments

When I was kid, my dad always took me mushroom hunting. I would like to say that it was to spend quality time together, but in reality, it was more likely because I was nimble and could fit in small places, like brush piles, to pick the mushrooms he found. Over the years, I developed an appetite for hunting mushrooms – who could find the first one, the biggest, or the most. Hunting for morels quickly turned into a friendly competition for my father and I.

Last year while hunting, I became aware of the different hunting methods my father and I adopted for finding mushrooms. My father, very methodical in his strategies, would practically run to his “honey holes” – places that he had found in previous years. At some places, he even took pictures of his surroundings or tied a torn piece of his hanky to a limb so he could remember it for the following year.

On the other end of the spectrum, was my method, which is more of a shotgun approach. I would basically walk around the woods, didn’t look for any special trees or locations, just mushrooms. While walking around, I would frequently get distracted by finding sheds or woodland creatures, which then led to a mini photo shoot for Instagram. But I still found mushrooms, lots of mushrooms.

My dad’s and my methods for finding mushrooms are similar to a couple of approaches that can be taken for public relations communications. My dad’s strategy revolved around his “honey holes”, which is similar to the PR strategy of sending less, more strategic communications to a small number of key media outlets. My method, the shotgun approach, focused on covering as much ground as possible. This is similar to the PR strategy of sending more communications, more frequently to a larger, less targeted media list.

Targeted PR communications require a sense of courting, and a methodical and well-planned strategy is more effective. An example of this would be working to get editorial over a new product or video reviews from influencers on YouTube. A mass email press release will not always foster these relationships enough to build partnerships and get the coverage your company and products need.

To successfully build these connections, create a top 10 list of key media members, bloggers, or editors for your business. Start developing those relationships first. Rather than sending them a stock email about news, product releases, or changes – send them a personal note or give them a phone call. It’s also beneficial to keep up-to-date on their current work – videos, editorial, industry changes, etc. Mentioning an article from their magazine or asking questions about one of their video reviews shows them you are paying attention and interested in what they do, not just seeking coverage.

On the other hand, not all PR relationships need this type of development. Some PR activities are intended to reach a large amount of contacts quickly. An example of this would be the launch of a new website or the announcement of a new contest. These news events are just as important as targeted communications but require less strategy and personalization. Keeping a running list of media and PR members will be helpful for this type of communication.

Whether you want to tie hankies on low hanging limbs or cover a lot of ground in the woods – both PR approaches can be effective and even stronger when they’re combined.

If you would like to visit with us about your PR strategy and how you can make your PR efforts provide a greater ROI, give us a call.