Comm411; unit 4 discussion



How might you change your approach to media relations based on the type of news outlet you hope to pitch (print, broadcast, online)?

Before you even think about writing the pitch or clicking send, be sure to take a moment to step back and research your angle. This is your opportunity to establish whether the angle has been covered before — and chances are it has — so that you can determine whether you’re trailblazing or adding a new insight to an existing storyline in the pitch.

Saturation of a storyline can vary between media groups, too. Just a little Google Search can go miles toward helping you give media the most relevant and useful information on behalf of your brand. Use insights to shape your angle, inform content and even media targets. Here is a guide you in your research.

Find the white space. Discover media who haven’t covered this topic, or a question left unanswered by existing news that only your brand can address.
Show media that you’ve read their news and tailor. You want your reporters to feel like you’ve read what they’re writing, and that you’ve truly chosen them for this story based on what you expect they’d be interested in.
Create a more complete story.The “perfect story” sometimes isn’t good enough to get covered today, especially when it’s soft news. Find trusted third-party data points, trends and other insights you can weave into your pitch to make it easier and more compelling to cover the story.

Anticipate Needs
Quick list of things to sort out before pitching:
Visuals. Does your reporter often use images? Video? If so, pull some great visuals together to save your media from having to hunt for images in addition to writing about your news.
Spokesperson availability. What if your story is going to be slated for tomorrow? Are you prepared to get your spokesperson on the phone? Don’t let email or phone delays for pulling availability be the thing that keeps you from getting an interview.
Quotes and press materials. Some media can write around a press release, or they’ll just want a simple quote from your team. Get your press materials prepared and approved beforehand, so you know what you have to offer and can click send right away.

Introductions and Contacting Media
Ask questions. Take the opportunity to ask if there’s anything that reporter is hoping to hear about specifically from you already, and if they’re open to discussing editorial interests. They may already have an idea of what they want from you. No need to blindly pitch if they’re willing to tell you what they’re looking for.
Connect on a personal level. Don’t spend so much time “working” that you forget to treat media like humans. It’s okay to wish someone a nice day, ask them how they’re doing and learn about them as people. Build a real relationship and forget about the work for a second. These kinds of genuine relationships extend beyond the beat that reporter is assigned to and can help both of you in your careers down the line.
Social media. Most major media are required to amplify their digital news via social media. Help a reporter out! Share their news, read it, comment on it, etc. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect via platforms like Twitter, where it’s expected and even encouraged to interact with the wider public, not just close-knit friends. This can help you stand out in a crowded inbox.

Practice Good Habits and Earn Favor
Honor timelines or beat them. Work with your media to get them the information they need in advance of their deadlines, not right before them. Think about their schedule. Time is a fantastic gift — the more you give it, the better reputation you’ll have for coming through in a pinch and making their jobs easy.
Offer and honor exclusives. An exclusive piece of news that’s perfect for one of your media targets can really make a reporter look good with their team, but be careful not to offer anything you can’t deliver on later.
Stay in touch. Don’t just pitch once and drop off the map. Share relevant news and information about your clients as an FYI to reporters and continue to think of proactive story angles. Your goal is to build a reputation as a fantastic resource for that contact. There are lots of ways and reasons to stay in touch. So keep track of your budding relationships and nurture them!

What advice would you provide to a newsmaker who is about to be interviewed by a reporter?

Have a solid marketing plan in place before a PR plan.
Your website and marketing materials better be in top-notch shape. Your company logo and image must be branded effectively and consistent. Trying to get press coverage before your marketing plan is in place is like putting the cart before the horse. So many overzealous business owners make this mistake. A reporter on his own can deduct quickly if you are not ready for PR. Their reputation depends on the readership interests and approval. The information on your website must be in complete harmony with your press release and all the marketing elements in alignment.
Don’t lie. If you don’t know an answer to a reporter’s question, don’t make believe you do just to keep them on the phone. If you don’t know something, tell the reporter you’ll get back to him or her. Remember - your reputation is always more important than landing a story.
• DON’T say “no comment” if you haven’t had a chance to review the case. Say “I’d very much like to comment on this as soon as I’ve read what’s been filed.” If appropriate, add: “I still don’t have a copy of it myself, could you fax or email one over?”
DON’T assume that you know how to talk to reporters about negative news just because you’re skilled at “good news” interviews – get media trained.

What are the steps you might take to ensure ongoing and productive relations with the media?

Find out who’s moved to what publication or outlet. More and more journalists are leaving their jobs for new and more challenging opportunities. Keeping track of who is working where is a time-consuming yet necessary job that can minimize bounce backs and wasted outreach.
Never underestimate the power of personal meetings. If you actually can network and meet reporters, developing that human connection and seeing them in another setting can create a relationship that could well-serve you for years to come. Follow a reporter’s career. Express interest in their moves to new positions. Maintain contact with them even after they’re written their story for your account.
Don’t lie. If you don’t know an answer to a reporter’s question, don’t make believe you do just to keep them on the phone. If you don’t know something, tell the reporter you’ll get back to him or her. Remember - your reputation is always more important than landing a story.
Develop the relationship with reporters.
You must accept the need to communicate with journalists properly on their terms, not yours. Take a local reporter to coffee. Exchange cards at your next networking event. Journalists are interesting people and love to hear about new exciting things. If they like what they hear, you now have an “in” with that reporter. They will remember you and will be more open to looking at your release.