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Media Relations Recap: From Pitched to Published – Part II

December 2, 2011

Hopefully you read the first part of our Media Relations Recap: From Pitched to Published by Bana Varnon.

In addition to the tips Bana wrote about in her post, I thought I’d follow up with some common pet peeves of reporters. For those of us in the industry, we hear these again and again and try to prevent them from happening. For others, the following no-no’s are a good way to burn a bridge with a reporter forever!

Avoid mass blasts to a media outlet.
Yes, more than one reporter at an outlet may be interested in a story idea, but blasting an entire publication’s staff is a good way to get on the spam list. It’s our job to build relationships with reporters, and we prefer to do it before we call to pitch a story. This is where relationship building is so critical. If a reporter knows you before you are pitching them with specific news, the journalist will more likely read your pitch.

Pitching a story with no news value.
A new product announcement may be the most exciting news a company has had in years, but if it’s not relevant to the masses, or not different from the other products on the market, it may not be interesting to reporters. When it comes to company news, it’s important to leverage relevant industry trends. Can you tie the announcement to something already in the news and identify why the product is going to make an impact? Can your source quote a direct experience? Do you have statistics to back your pitch? Put yourself in a journalist’s shoes and consider what would make their editor approve this story for publication. It has to be newsworthy, innovative and interesting to the audience.

Pitching a story that their competitor has run.

Reporters love exclusives, and hate being the last to know about something. If a story has already run with another media outlet, particularly television, pitch a different angle and be up front if they ask if the story has been covered. They’ll appreciate the honesty.

Bana’s earlier post identifies several other tips anyone pitching the media should consider. Knowing the reporter’s beat and making his/her job easier is critical. Additionally, your source should be available any time of the day for interviews, and you must be ready to spend time gathering additional information the reporter requests. Most importantly, know that a successful media relations campaign doesn’t happen overnight, but it is worth the time and effort you put into it when you receive the third-party credibility.

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