“Hello. I just sent you a press release about my client—a semiconductor company launching a new design for its latest power adaptors. Could you publish it on your website?”…Except I write for a marketing and advertising magazine.
I can’t recall the number of times I’ve had to politely and curtly tell eager PR executives that I wasn’t interested in what they were pitching. But I can tell you how many times I have received a good, well-rounded and articulate pitch– 15 maybe 20 times in nine years. That’s shockingly disproportionate for two professions that have so much in common.
When engaging with the media,please consider these tips from an ex journalist who has recently made the jump to PR.
Know the publication and journalist’s beat
Please spend time researching the publication and journalist. I’ve been called “Mr. Iyer” more times than I’m willing to admit. It is off-putting and offensive to call someone, not know their correct name, and not have a clue about what they cover. Referencing some of the journalist’s previous work and demonstrating how your client’s content fits in is a huge plus.
In today’s fast-paced, competitive content hungry environment, journalists are far more willing to write something when you give them a good, relevant story. Think of a fresh angle and build it into a wider narrative. Please do not cc the entire world in your emails—certainly not reporters and editors at rival publications.
Just because all publications have digital versions doesn’t mean they are going to change words and sentences to suit clients whims and fancies. There are house-styles to adhere to and it’s a reporter’s job to bring in different perspectives. So unless something is factually incorrect, please try to manage expectations as best as you can.
The race for exclusives
Journalists will lap up anything with the word exclusive. If you can’t offer an exclusive on some big news, arranging an interview with a top executive from the firm in question could be useful. Pitching a sensible follow-up could also earn you brownie points.
The follow up
This is a big pain point. A journalist will typically show interest in a story idea immediately. If he/she is somewhat interested I would recommend following up once presenting new information or context. Find out what additional information or angle would work better. But please do not spam or call someone everyday. Move on to the next publication.
Whether you work in PR or are simply looking to get your brand noticed by the media, it’s critical to do your research and creatively frame every single pitch.
If you need help developing a compelling story and delivering the right messages to the media, get in touch with us at [email protected].