Attracting Print and Online Media
Last week we started a series of tips for attracting print and online media for your PR campaign, and we focused mainly on the basics. Today, we’ll get a little more in-depth with our tips, so grab a cup of coffee or some ginkgo biloba or whatever else it is you do to focus, because we’re starting the intermediate class, today!
The general idea with today’s tips is to zero on one key element, things journalists love. They include:
- Professionally written communications:
Journalists love good writing, and even though this can be inherently subjective, it’s something upon which a good PR campaign is founded. When communicating on subjects about which you’re passionate (and if you’re not basing a PR campaign on your passion in business, then you’re already starting in the wrong place), your words should have rhythm, timber and pitch like symphonic music. It’s not just about your message, it’s about communicating it eloquently and with style. Journalists will respect that element of it, even if your message doesn’t resonate with them.
- Tie in the News: The fact that you’re launching a new product line or service is not important news to a journalist just because it’s news to you. Now, if your product or service could be viewed as a solution for a problem that’s getting play in the news cycle — for instance, a health problem, diet issues, credit or financial problems — then you could pitch yourself as an expert on the topic with tips on how to combat it. If you can tie your company or offering into the news cycle, you’ll always move to the front of the line.
- Follow Up, But Not Too Much: After you send a journalist a story, they appreciate a little follow up, because many of them aren’t exactly slaves to their incoming emails. They appreciate it even more if your follow up is respectful of their time. The temptation may be there to call regularly to see if they’re interested in what you sent them, but rather, keep your communications focused and concise without calling too often. Even if they turn down your current pitch, they’ll be more likely to pay attention to future communications from you. bbc news online
- Give Them News:
A lot of companies use every excuse to send out a press release, because they think it will keep them on the press radar. However, the press is far more interested in quality of news than quantity. Be choosy when communicating with them and only send items that would be of interest to their readers. If you respect the journalist’s job description-which is to report the news-the journalist will sense that. The real pros are familiar with the dance. They know you’re promoting something commercial when you reach out to them, but as long as you help serve their readers’ need for useful and timely information that’s helpful to them, the reporter won’t mind so much. It’s the classic trade-off that makes the media work.
- Be Gracious When They Turn You Down: Just getting a journalist to read your release or your pitch doesn’t mean they’ll say yes and do the story. If they’re not interested it could be for a variety of reasons. It might be because of a busy news cycle, or simply because they’ve just run a similar piece, or it could be that they just don’t see the news value in your pitch. No matter what, the key to motivating them to read your NEXT release is to be gracious when they turn you down. Even if reporters are a little snippy with you, take the high road and simply respond politely and graciously, thanking them for the time they gave you. Remember, they’re on deadline and are dealing with daily pressures to deliver the news. Moreover, their job is the only one in which their mistakes are printed and circulated to tens of thousands, with their names at the top for all to see. If they’re a little short with you, don’t take it personally. If you maintain a professional, polite demeanor with them, they will be more likely to keep reading your pitches and releases, and they’ll be more motivated to work with you when you send them something that IS interesting to them.