In the world of a 24-hour news cycle, fewer journalists, and fragmented media, traditional public relations has become trickier than ever.
This past Tuesday, I attended a PRSA Boston Young Professional Network (YPN) meeting that helped me get a leg up in my traditional PR skills.
At the YPN meeting, we had the opportunity to meet Boston journalists, create innovative and enticing pitches and immediately receive feedback from the press.
The journalists also offered four key points all PR professionals should keep in mind if they want to get their client media coverage:
- Make friends: We’ve all heard that PR is about who you know, and this still holds true today. Think about journalists as if they were your neighbors – you wouldn’t cold call someone down the street for a cup of sugar. Instead, you would call someone who you already had a relationship with. Make these relationships before you need a story covered.
- Timing is extremely important: Before you call a reporter to pitch your client’s event, know what’s going on in the world. If there was a school shooting an hour ago, chances are that the journalist does not have time to cover your ribbon-cutting ceremony. Also, if journalists are on a deadline, they don’t have time to take your call. To combat this, always ask if they have time before you begin pitching.
- All news is local: Because newsrooms have consolidated and users rarely get their news from one source, all news is now local. The more you can frame your pitch to emphasize how it impacts the local community, the more likely a journalist will write about it.
- Know your PR objective: It’s great to receive coverage for your event, but will the story align with your PR objectives? As a public relations professional, you have to make sure to accomplish your objectives though media coverage. For example, if a journalist picks up a story about your event, but fails to mention you client, does it really matter to your client? You must balance newsworthiness with client objectives to have effective media coverage.
Have any other tips for pitching journalists? Post your ideas below!