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If sales is like dating, so is public relations

By Lindsey Chastain

Craft better stories and connections through shared interests, listening, and adapting.


A couple at a beach.The process of sales is commonly compared to the journey of dating. The goals are similar: make a meaningful connection, demonstrate value, and build loyalty to lead to a longer-term relationship. The courtship activities involved in PR outreach parallel these dating rituals. 





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PR pros understand that effectively pitching stories relies on understanding motivations and interests –– much like compatibility in successful dating. 


It’s about give and take, not just taking without concern for the needs of journalists or audiences.


Shared interests drive connections.

Before a date, smart suitors come prepared with topics for discussion around common interests discovered preliminarily. Savvy PR practitioners similarly research reporters they pitch to uncover specific areas of coverage or excitement. 


Instead of blasting the same generic story concepts spray and pray style, they customize pitches. A food blogger receives dining openings exclusives versus wonky economic data. Veterinary trade media is fed animal health angles, not beauty industry gossip. Even subject lines get personalized, demonstrating the homework done.


This targeting begins the relationship on a thoughtful note around shared interests –– the same way a couple bonds over mutual affinities like music or film. Both sales and PR join more effectively with audiences by identifying overlapping passions and knowledge gaps to fill. 


Listen and learn before launching.

On dates, the wise quickly realize monologues about oneself lose steam. Good relationships come from a balance of both individuals talking and listening. PR pitch scheduling takes the same give-and-get approach by starting every media meetup and asking the reporters what stories they need.  


An editor may have run a manufacturing supply chain piece and is now looking for retail inflation data, or they’ve published enough financial stories while lifestyle trends need a boost. Asking what reporters are looking for prevents wasted pitches and allows new ideas to surface. Just as daters learn more by questioning than boasting, PR listening leads to smarter stories and better odds they get told.


Adapt and compromise around objections.  

Rarely does a first date end in a proposal. More often, conflicting views can derail chemistry. Savvy suitors overcome areas of disagreement through compromise or simply letting certain points go. They know adaptations likely needed to spark further rendezvous. 


Media meetings take patience, too. Not every original pitch lands perfectly. However, skillful PR adjusts concepts to increase appeal after absorbing any initial objections. Maybe the proposed source lacks credibility, necessitates a substitute, or concerns surface on overdone topics requiring a fresh direction. Reframing around such input collaboratively may open new avenues for coverage. Dating and PR both require resilience to rejection and a willingness to evolve the approaches.


Leave them wanting more.

Even wildly successful dates manage expectations about the next steps prudently. Rarely do partners commit beyond the initial encounter, no matter how good the chemistry is. Time and continued interactions are needed before relationships grow.


The most impactful PR pro similarly manages anxious clients questioning whether reporters will cover their pitches immediately. They underscore the necessity of patience and perseverance like in dating. Counsel revolves around staying focused through valuable exchanges –– not demanding instant serious exclusivity. Sources are groomed slowly through relevant updates before deeper profiles develop. Like potential mates, media courtships embrace care and feeding, too.  


Yes, just as sales mirrors the art of dating, so does public relations. At its heart, quality companions monitor compatibility around interests to craft connections. They listen more than promote through compromise. And they allow affection to build slowly on its cadence through consistent values, not decrees. 


If you are frustrated with lead generation results or ink amassed, consider taking a page from Cupid’s guide. The wisdom applies beyond simply finding love to achieving positive visibility. Approach media just as thoughtfully and progressively to earn coverage in due time.


If you are prepared to apply these proven PR dating lessons to spark greater exposure, register for Axia’s free 60-Second Impact, packed with tips and tools on how to use PR to promote and grow your company.


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Photo by Josh Willink

Topics: PR tips

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