Lou's Views : Media Coverage

Jennifer Leckstrom, SVP of RoseComm


Is it a currency exchange term? Or a valuable way forward for the PR industry? Jennifer Leckstrom, New York-based senior vice president of RoseComm believes in the PESO model — paid, earned, owned, and shared media — as a way to navigate clients through to outstanding coverage that grabs attention.

As the latest of our Qwoted 100 PR superstars, Leckstrom shared her views on what it means to go beyond traditional media relations, and why she values going deep on research as a way to unlock value for the people and organizations she serves — which run the gamut from Cigna and BlueRidge Bank to CafeMom, a source for community and content for moms.

Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?

Jennifer Leckstrom: As the media landscape continues to shift, I think we’ll see a continued blurring of the lines between comms disciplines and fewer opportunities for earned coverage. Already, the work we do for clients goes beyond traditional PR and we help our clients with the development of meaningful, shareable content across traditional and digital channels. The PESO model will also increase in relevance for PR professionals as they develop plans for clients.

Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?

Leckstrom: While I think many established PRs know this, for those getting into the field I stress the value of going deep on research – whether on a topic of interest to your client or when putting together a media pitch list. Surface level won’t cut it when you are competing for attention in a noisy space.

Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?

Leckstrom: Like others, my toughest challenge is getting responses to my pitches. Even when doing the “right things” that journalists request of PR pros (like offering exclusives, reading their coverage, providing data, etc.) – pitches often go unnoticed. This makes the task of following up a nuanced endeavor … a delicate balance between being an assertive advocate for our clients’ stories without crossing the line into annoying pest.

Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?

Leckstrom: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for breaking through the noise as there are many variables to consider. That said, I typically opt for short and fun/engaging subject lines in my pitches (the best being when these subject lines make their way into media coverage!) and keep the pitch short. I believe that whetting a reporter’s appetite is enough for the first email. If they are interested and want more information, they’ll ask. Also, this approach helps when following up as you can include additional info and aren’t simply questioning if they received your email or if they are interested.

Qwoted: How does PR in 2023 square with the future of journalism?

Leckstrom: I think both industries continue to evolve given the media landscape. PR professionals need to speak with journalists and understand the challenges they face – and for reporters to be candid about what will help them accomplish their goals. PR teams and reporters alike are increasingly required to do more with less. From the PR side, we can assist by delivering succinct, relevant pitches and providing comprehensive resources that reduce journalists’ legwork.

Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?

Leckstrom: My advice is to work hand in hand with the PR person/agency. Treat them as a partner, and value their counsel and outside perspective. In my experience, we have the most success with clients when we are viewed as an integral member of the team versus taking orders. Also, don’t judge their effectiveness immediately: PR takes time. Not giving them the runway to lay a foundation or expecting reporters at top-tier publications to come knocking in month one doesn’t set the PR team up for success and can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?

Leckstrom: Listen and respond thoughtfully. As PR pros, we are responsible for helping deliver our clients’ key messages but we must also foster dialogues with a range of audiences. Only by listening to what our clients, journalists and other stakeholders say are we able to assess and meet their needs and hopefully, exceed their expectations.

Qwoted: Anything else to add?

Leckstrom: I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to my friend and mentor Rosemary Ostmann on the 20th anniversary of RoseComm. I wouldn’t be on the Qwoted 100 without her guidance and support. The company’s success in helping clients uncover and share their stories with the people who matter most is a testament to Rosemary’s vision and leadership.

Over the past 20 years, Rosemary built an agency that consistently delivers top-notch work in an environment where multiple women have been able to kickstart their careers. She’s a powerhouse in our industry and uses her voice to advocate for diversity and empowerment. Under her guidance, RoseComm champions businesses of all sizes, giving voices to both start-ups and established brands. Thank you for all you do, Rosemary, and 20th happy anniversary RoseComm!

You can connect with Jennifer Leckstrom of RoseComm via email at jleckstrom@rosecomm.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Lou Carlozo is Qwoted’s Editor in Chief and the Editor/Publisher of Talking Biz News. Email lou@qwoted.com or connect on LinkedIn.