Hello PR Peeps! Here is a little about me:
- Education: 2008 graduate of Boise State University with a bachelor of arts in communication, emphasis in public relations and minor in visual arts
- Professional: PR, marketing, brand development, social media and web management, event planning, strategic and creative collaboration for
- Volunteer/Internships: PR/marketing internships at The Record Exchange and True West Cinema Festival; volunteered with Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, Trey McIntyre Project, Board of Directors at The Arc of Idaho.
- Personal: My husband and I own a small casino on the Oregon/Nevada border, I work part time and remotely for Boise State, I am a new mom, we love to travel and also love the friendly and chill Boise community. #Idahome
Journalists, reporters and media professionals all feel the crunch. Media as we know it, free and unbiased, is under attack and its integrity compromised by “fake news.” The news cycle is non-stop, with web and social media platforms remain a long-term threat to long-established print outlets, meaning that professionals in these fields are wearing many hats, juggling many balls and trying to get ahead of a bullet train. Understanding the trials and tribulations of the waning media workforce is important in building media relationships. Empathy, not sympathy, for our colleagues.
How can we pitch, write and collaborate with traditional media professionals in a way that keeps them coming back for more?
- Keep it relevant and timely (are there popular trends you can tie into?).
- Know whom to pitch, why and how: Does the writer have a specific topic or beat? Many media professionals offer pitching information in their bios, do a little research before pitching, or send an introductory email asking if they mind being pitched and what their preferred medium is.
- Get their attention: It’s all in a good headline.
- Hook them: Describe how your pitch will benefit the writer/outlet – will it generate an interesting story that will drive traffic to their site?
- Summarize: Keep it simple! Media professionals do not want (or have time for) all of the details up front. Get their attention, hook them and wait for a response before you send them paragraphs of information.
- Know how to write: Traditional media professionals appreciate it when they receive information already written in the AP Style.
- Personalize: If you’re copying and pasting, at least personalize the email with a name and title of outlet, and go one step further with a friendly hello or memory from working this person before, that a colleague recommended getting in tough with them, or that you really liked their article on “x.”
Bloggers, online influencers, and social media stars have, in the past twenty years, become the broadcasters we as a modern society look to for stories, recommendations and entertainment. Sometimes there is overlap with traditional media, and sometimes new media is a competitor in the information race.
Companies have been jumping to pay a Kardashian millions of dollars to mention their product on social media, or to appear to show interest in their brand. The Federal Trade Commission continues to scramble to try to define guidelines for “influencers” and how their work with companies reflect advertisements rather than organic, honest engagement. Pitching and coordinating with online media personalities/professionals is a different game, and is equally important to understand in media relations.
How can we pitch, write and collaborate with new media professionals in a way that keeps them coming back for more?
- Keep it relevant and timely: Are there popular trends you can tie into?
- Know whom to pitch, why and how: Does the blogger/influencer have a specific interest, or readership? They may have a contact form on their website, or be more responsive on their social media channels.
- Follow them!
- Get their attention: Comment on their posts, RT them, like, share – then hit them up.
- Hook them: Describe how your pitch benefit the blogger/influencer – will it generate an interesting story that will drive traffic to their site? Will it melt their heart to be a part of something new?
- Summarize: New media professionals are less formal, so keep the dialogue fresh and intriguing, but also respectful.
- Personalize: If you’re copying and pasting, at least personalize the email with a name and title of blog/page/handle, and go one step further with a friendly hello or memory from working this person before, or that a colleague recommended getting in tough with them, or that you really liked their post on “x.”
Media friends: how do you prefer to receive pitches? This survey is for a media relations class I am presenting at. It’d be great to hear from you!
— ⅂ ∀ D ⅂ ∀ D (@ladufurrena) March 8, 2018
Notes, Tips, Recommendations
The bottom line: We all want to get paid. Media relations professionals get paid when their company/client is seen in a positive light; media professionals get paid for generating content that drives traffic to a medium that also offers advertising. (Though, there are ad-free and community supported media out there too, and are pleasant to work with.)
Become familiar with FTC advertising guides.
Become familiar with contest rules and regulation requirements on each site or using a third party to administer.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) – reverse pitching newsletter
Become familiar with the different types of measurement: circulation, readership, insights, impressions, engagements and why and how analytics are helpful in media relations.