This is a phrase I hear a lot in our industry. It usually follows the confirmation of a media meeting with a journalist when you have a specific time slot to fill or placement of a opinion article based upon a deeply technical subject.
That said, I have never agreed with this. Undoubtedly a PR professional’s strength can be in his or her contacts but I genuinely believe the real strength comes from your approach. I have won accounts in markets that I haven’t worked in before but achieved great success for clients in a short period of time.
Why? Because I understand what a journalist needs and expects from a PR professional. This doesn’t change from trade title to national. If you get this right the first time then that contact will acknowledge and understand that they can trust you. If you win their trust, you win a new contact.
Ultimately, strong contacts are good but good practice is better. If you fundamentally know what a journalist expects/wants it doesn’t matter if you know them or not – you will be helping them with their job and they will help you with yours.