While the media relations world often summons images of the hard-nosed rep, it truly takes flexible thinking to make a mark and see creative possibilities others don’t. Our Qwoted 100 PR Superstar, Lexi Nahl of Wealth Matters Consulting, sees the challenge of tacking a crowded media market as a chance to take novel approaches and leverage new tools. Like Qwoted. (Don’t take our word for it; read on.)
Here, Nahl talks about the state of PR as 2023 winds down and the way she packs her own reporting into the quest to win the attention and coverage of the media outlets she pitches.
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Lexi Nahl: I believe it’s increasingly important for communication practitioners to become more flexible thinkers when it comes to the changing media landscape. The current market for reporters and media outlets is quite oversaturated, so choosing the right journalists/news outlets and identifying the best ways to reach them as the landscape continues to evolve will be a challenge. But that’s a challenge I welcome as a practitioner! I also think tools like Qwoted can really help bridge the gap and cut through the noise. They enable us to identify the most fitting opportunities, reach the right individuals, and allow us to concentrate on what truly drives us as communication practitioners: crafting compelling messages and delivering top-notch storytelling.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?
Nahl: I think I have a unique perspective on this job because I’m a former journalist myself. Initially, I didn’t fully grasp the value of this experience when I entered the PR industry, but now I see that one of the reasons I’ve been effective in this job is because I understand how a journalist thinks. A journalist’s job is colored by urgency, so my job now on the other side of the industry is to get them the best information or insights promptly. I try to keep my interactions with reporters informal and relatable, and I avoid any robotic industry jargon. Instead, I strive to assist them in their storytelling process by crafting compelling pitches that present a comprehensive view of the story I want to convey. Additionally, I offer them access to clients whose perspectives I believe can genuinely enhance their storytelling.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
Nahl: The toughest challenge is just getting that first reply. Once my foot is in the door with a reporter, I rely on my interpersonal skills to cultivate that relationship. But sometimes just making that introduction can be tough!
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
Nahl: I try to take a research-heavy approach to securing coverage. Mass pitches have a time and a place, but I’m usually more effective at securing coverage when I research reporters individually. When I really take the time to understand what they are writing about, I can try to pitch them stories/client perspectives that align with their beats or interests. Understanding where these reporters “live” — on social media, on email, on Qwoted, etc. — can also be helpful. Once I have a solid working relationship established with a reporter, everything gets easier. The other tip I have for breaking through the noise is to think like a journalist and this means with urgency! If I see a request that I know I can help with, I jump on it immediately. I believe it’s better to be correct than fast, but if my time in newsrooms has taught me anything, it’s that we must strive for both. That means if there is something timely happening in the news and I want to offer a client perspective, I jump into action. I think like I am back in a newsroom and I am on deadline – only this time the pressure is even greater in some respects because I need to get my client in the door before the journalist’s deadline.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2023 square with the future of journalism?
Nahl: Information is available 24/7 on a plethora of platforms at the tips of our fingers now. This means that audiences demand accurate, transparent and timely content. It puts big pressure on journalists, and we must prove to be trustworthy and effective partners for them in storytelling amid this changing landscape.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?
Nahl: Find someone who prioritizes accuracy but moves quickly. This, combined with strong interpersonal, writing and public speaking skills makes an effective PR person. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone who really understands the news industry! That makes reaching out to and relating to reporters much easier.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Nahl: Stories are at the heart of every good pitch.
February 14, 2023