A good relationship with a reporter goes a long way. As it turns out, they also withstand pandemics.
We all know that the constantly shifting media landscape has changed how people get their news and receive information. For public relations practitioners, this presents many exciting new vehicles. However, with media relations as the mainstay, the overwhelming number of options via which to pitch journalists can present new challenges. So. Many. Options.
Not to fear. While the days of shoo-in coverage may be gone, connections are here to stay. Having recently joined a new agency, the author found this to be true when she sent introductory notes to reconnect with long lost media contacts. Speedy replies ranged from welcome back! … to … Who are your new clients? How is your dog? Did you get Covid? All the responses were positive and included “Please send pitches.”
The power of relationships makes the public relations world go ‘round. The best agencies are composed of connectors who are gifted with establishing and maintaining them. Working with the media can be a breed unto itself, and those connections are as important as the pitch. There is a good deal of effort that goes into both. Setting up for success ensures that the writer not only opens your pitch, but replies to schedule an interview.
Pitch Cheat Sheet
The same rules could easily apply to everyday networking.
- Identify your media target and the appropriate reporter. Getting to the right one takes research. Editorial assistants are your BFFs.
- Send an introductory note. Ask what the writer is working on and how they prefer to receive pitches.
- Build and nurture good relationships. Pleasantries matter.
- One size does NOT fit all. Customize your pitches.
- Include the Who, What, When, Why & How.
- Should a writer reply to your pitch, promptly reply. Remember, the press is always on deadline.
- Send a thank you note when they cover your pitch.
- Follow journalists on social media and monitor queries. Your goal is to provide relevant, newsworthy content.
- Say YES if they contact you with an appropriate opportunity. Be honest if you don’t have any clients that fit.
- Offer to pass along media inquiries. Doing so builds loyalty twofold.
Note: The author recently returned to traditional public relations after a three-year hiatus. She is quickly reclaiming her fearless pitcher status.