Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No one reads a release?

Today's "At Breakfast With" series (one of the more successful programs from the PRSA-Los Angeles Chapter), had some startling (?) news from reporters and editors from national news organizations:

  • Don't pitch a story idea to a reporter's Twitter account.  (Twitter remains sacred ground. It's more personal there than, say, LinkedIn, which is perfectly OK to us to reach a reporter).  They hate a DM pitch.
  • If you are not representing a publicly traded company, why publish a news release?  Seems like many reporters are simply not reading them anymore.  
 And then there were things we already know, but need reminding now and then.

  • Study the reporter before pitching them. Common theme at these media breakfasts. It seems we PR folks are not understanding this and most reporters complain about getting a pitch that doesn't fall into their type of coverage.  It's so easy to Google a reporter and find what they are writing/broadcasting.  The Forbes reporter who covers entertainment doesn't want to know about the latest face cream breakthrough (unless, of course, the celebrity is about to buy that face cream company).  Bloomberg usually doesn't cover company news if they are not a publicly traded company. 
  • Don't call on deadline.
  • Building relationships are key.  Take a reporter out for coffee, breakfast, lunch or have a non-deadline casual conversation that doesn't involve a current pitch.
  • Reporters get hundreds, thousands of emails.  So, make it personal in the subject line to catch their attention.  
  • Phone follow only if necessary.  If you truly think it's a story for them and they probably overlooked it, then call.  Not with "did you get my release," but "It's a story I believe is ripe for you and here's why"
  • Pretend you are a TV reporter trying to "sell" a story to the editor.  That's how the reporter you are pitching wants to hear it from you.  (I.e. "What you think you know about XX is now completely different")
  • Information and statistics are great, but stories are best with "characters" (i.e. interesting people)..and they need to be media trained for TV.  
And there were a TON of other useful tips from today's program.  If you want to link which reporter or editor to the statements above... well, you need to show up.  If you want this level of intelligence  to enhance your career - then you need to attend more PRSA/LA events and become a member.  Membership is cheap and has huge ROI to your career.

1 comment:

Lynn L said...

Interesting comment about reporters not reading news releases. Perhaps news releases need a new name -- some news releases get picked up all over the web as news stories themselves, so maybe the news release is really a direct communication with the public?