Being approached by many PR professionals on daily basis, Journalists in Myanmar have become pickier than ever. It is hard to convince them of publishing a client’s story because of the policies of the publication house and the cost of the publishing space.
Being still in a developing process, Myanmar has obviously opened its doors wide-open catching up with the world. Every sector of the country is booming and the fourth pillar ‘media industry’ is not an exception especially after putting an end to more than four decades of pre-publication censorship in 2012. Foreign investors and brands keep rushing into the country. Myanmar journalists are aware that with that progress, PR becomes a trend and dealing with PR people becomes a part of their job. But if PR people think every story they tell gets published, something is just not right. It is only fair to say that PR people have to listen to what journalists have to say this time about how they consume media pitches.
Here are 5 things Myanmar journalists want you to understand if you are to sell your stories.
1. JOURNALISTS DON’T DO BRANDING
PR agencies need to realize that journalists are fully aware when the content is too commercial or does not carry any information related to the public interest. There is, no way commercial stories would get passed by editorial executives, especially, if you want to pitch to top tier publications in Myanmar. Unless it is a product or brand launch, your story must at least have a hook that editors cannot resist, which means you must make certain that your story provides a value to policy of media houses and do a proper research on that.
2. TELL STORIES THAT MATTER
Stories that are wandering around a piece of information that no one cares about any more are no use. Your old story will not draw anybody’s attention while everybody is after the newest contents and updates. Let people know your verbs, not your adjectives. Because at the end of the day, all people care about is what you do and your actions determine your image. A PR mentor once said that ‘All publicity is good publicity’, but there has not been any good-enough reason to put that theory to test. Please note that what matters to public matters to journalists and media houses.
3. GIVE CLEAR & CONCISE MESSAGE
Please do not make journalists get lost in your content. Communicate concisely and in a way that makes sense. Journalists would be grateful if your stories are not loaded with too many complex facts and figures. The last thing journalists want is to get drowned in them. You should be clear about your content and give only ‘one message’ at a time. What’s best is that your story is so perfect that your content earns itself an impression of a ready-to-publish story.
4. THIS IS NOT AN ESSAY COMPETITION
Yes, you read it right. This is a matter of information we are talking about. Their columns are not a place for your aesthetic writing skill to be shown off. There is no doubt that your presentation has a big role to play, but this should not annoy or disturb the journalist who is putting effort to consume your content. You do not want your content to be ignored because of extreme flavors.
5. NO BRIBING
If you think bribes work, you are wrong. Depending on the flexibility of policies of different media houses, some company-branded gifts offered at media events might be acceptable, however, this does not guarantee your story will be published. When you are to pitch your story to a top-tier publication in Myanmar, you will be much respected and able to keep a much better relationship if you keep your hands clean.
Media influence is a great deal in a country like Myanmar. If you want to be a PR professional in the country, it would be wiser of you to listen to journalists as well regarding media relations even while working to fulfil clients’ demands. Therefore, please understand these 5 tips and keep your clients happy.
Myat Su Mon Win, aka Rachel is a PR & Digital Executive at Vero Myanmar.