It’s that time of year again. Time for making predictions for the year to come. As I look back on 2009, I’m amazed by all the progress I’ve seen with regard to the evolving news industry, and the practice of media relations. Sure, some of it is negative, like all the layoffs and dying publications, but beyond all that, there’s a lot of optimism in both industries. For this post, I’m focusing on my 10 reasons media relations will get easier in 2010. [Read more…]
This has been a popular question from our blog readers. Several of you have asked “What’s the best time to reach a journalist?” The honest answer is there is no “best time” and every journalist is different. That said, there are some general rules of engagement you can use to get through when you need to, and to avoid being hung up on. [Read more…]
According to a new survey from Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), as reported in PRWeek , 70 percent of journalists said they use social networks to assist in reporting (compared to 41 percent last year). This is a huge spike in one year, though it shouldn’t surprise any of us with all the lists of journalists using Twitter and other social networks.
The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents go to company websites to assist in their reporting, while 66 percent use blogs, 51 percent use Wikipedia (wow), 48 percent go to online videos (double wow), and 47 percent use Twitter and other microblogging services (would have guessed higher on this one). [Read more…]
So you’re trying to get coverage for a new product in mainstream publications. You’re in the midst of the Holiday Gift Guide pitching season and you need to deliver some serious placements. Coverage in any number of gift guide stories will directly translate into sales for your clients – and that’s the type of ROI that will secure your place at the table heading into next year. But what’s the best way to pitch products to gift guide editors?
For starters, this is one of the most competitive areas for PR pitches. For any mainstream gift guide, it’s not unheard of for an editor to receive more than 1,000 pitches on new products. That’s a lot of competition for you to go up against. Unless you’re new product is projected to be this year’s “Tickle Me Elmo” or “Guitar Hero”, you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, there is an approach you can use to dramatically increase your success pitching products to gift guide and product review journalists, provided you’ve got the right fit. [Read more…]
Quite a few Journalistics readers have suggested this topic for the blog. At first glance, I’m surprised anyone would question the value PR professionals provide for journalists. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity about off-topic pitches and “PR spammers” we see on a regular basis. I too have gone on and on about this topic in the past. The truth is, there are still thousands of journalists (and bloggers) who rely on public relations professionals for story suggestions and sources.
The popularity of services like HARO and ProfNet should be proof enough that journalists have a need for PR professionals. Granted, the need is more for sources and experts than PR professionals, but it’s usually the PR professionals who are scanning a lot of those queries looking for potential fits for the clients, organizations and individuals they represent. I recently interviewed close to a bunch of journalists for some research we’re doing for Journalistics and found that most reporters and bloggers still rely on PR professionals for a fair amount of the content they write. While a lot of reporters and bloggers complain about the off-topic pitches they receive from “lazy PR people”, when pressed, most will admit they have used information provided by a PR professional in a recent story. [Read more…]
Yesterday, I wrote about How to Pitch a Story: Part One. I focused on the steps I’ve used in preparing for a pitch, including targeting outlets and developing pitch materials. Today, I’ve provided How to Pitch a Story: Part Two, which focuses on managing the process and closing out the pitch. I look forward to hearing your feedback on these posts.
Keep Good Records
If you’re not using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage your media outreach, start using one now. It’s the best way to keep track of your history working with organizations and individuals, particularly if you’re working in a team environment.
Take good notes on your interaction with the journalists, and attach all your pitches, documents and other information to the system. Ideally, you should use a system that also enables you to manage tasks and follow-up as well.
Most CRM systems are built for managing a sales pipeline, and that’s what media relations is all about. You’re selling a story and need to track your prospects and lead-to-close ratios. If you do this for a few months, you’ll quickly identify patterns around what works and what doesn’t. [Read more…]
Whether you’re just starting out in PR, you’ll need to know how to pitch a story. With all the talk about off-topic pitches and “PR spammers” I’ve been seeing out there, I figured it would be timely to offer my suggestions for how to pitch a story. I’ve broken this advice into two posts, the first of which I’ll share today on preparation, followed by part two tomorrow on managing the pitch process.
For the critics out there, I don’t believe there is one right way to pitch a story, but there are a lot of wrong ways. I’ve put together this advice based on my own success and failure working with the media. I’ve found the greatest success using this approach, and it’s my hope that you too will find some helpful tips for preparing your next pitch.
Regardless of the approach you use, the only way to produce consistent placements for clients is to do your legwork. Pitching is a lot of hard work, but the better your preparation and persistence, the more success you will have. [Read more…]
There are many ways to determine the best media outlet to target for publicity. One of the most common approaches is to target publications based on the size of the audience reached. The newspaper with the largest circulation is more coveted than the local paper. Sure, you can also target by geography, demographics or other options, but the most common approach is still one of mass communications – reach the greatest number of eyeballs in one fell swoop. [Read more…]
So it’s been a couple of weeks since TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington wrote a post questioning the value of PR agencies. In the post, Michael suggested that media relations is a little more than “smile, dial and pray” these days. Of course he was referring to media relations, in response to a New York Times article about how PR is done in Silicon Valley these days. I think I was most impressed by the fact that PR superstar Brooke Hammerling was featured in both articles about what she does best, leveraging relationships to help clients make big time news. I wonder if she pitched that story? [Read more…]
I recently read a great post suggesting that you shouldn’t use interns to pitch the media. The post references a recent Forbes.com article on do-it-yourself PR tactics that suggests using an intern to pitch the media. Using an intern to pitch your news is like having an assistant shop for your spouse. It lacks the personal touch and sends the message that you really don’t care.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think interns should get real-world experience from an internship. If your organization is willing to invest the time in training an intern on media relations, participating in phone pitches, proofing and editing their email pitches, and giving them one-on-one coaching throughout the process, then by all means go ahead. Of course, if you had the free time to train an intern on media relations, you probably wouldn’t need an intern to do the pitching for you in the first place. Most of the time (and there are always exceptions), organizations hire an intern to pick up the slack. They think an intern is cheap labor. [Read more…]