5 Steps to Connecting With Over-Stretched Journalists

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Whitney Eichinger

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Pitching reporters today is both harder and easier that it has ever been. Never before have PR practitioners had the access to contacts as they do today. Whether you want to get attention for your announcement on Twitter, pitch your latest video to an industry blogger or communicate hard news to the right contacts, these five simple steps will get results and help you build your brand.

1. Focus: When pitching reporters today, it’s important to pinpoint what reporter will respond to your exact pitch. You can reach anyone, from well-followed Twitter folks to traditional media, with relative ease. Finding the right person ensures coverage for your idea. 

2. Timing: Knowing the news cycle is critically important. This is not something new, but it can impact news coverage of your event or issue. Consider time zones, holidays and the like when pitching. If it’s a softer subject, try the weekend news team. They have infinite time to fill.

3. Content: Believe in what you are pitching. If you have an idea and you’re not 100% behind it or think it is lackluster, create something better or don’t pitch it. You can’t afford to waste your time or anyone else’s, so make what you are pitching worth covering. Would someone you know want to hear the idea you are pitching? Would you?

4. Relationships: A key in great media stories is creating a relationship with media, followers on Twitter, friends on your corporate Facebook page and bloggers.  Even calling one of your contacts and testing out your pitch works wonders. An outside resource can give you areas to improve upon or even a new angle that you may not have thought of on your own.

5. Convergence: When pitching, consider covering all your bases from the corporate blog to Facebook. At Southwest, we create a press release for the wire, link to our blog post from the release, tweet a link to the blog post, link from our Facebook page to our blog post and then personally email our key media list (which includes bloggers). Integrating your messages ensures that you will reach all audiences. Casting a wider net brings in more results.

Whitney Eichiner is a 
senior manager of public relations at Southwest Airlines. You can follow her on Twitter at @WhitneyE, and reach her by email at Whitney.Eichinger@wnco.com.

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  • Michelle Damico

    I agree with the importance of timing. I find that reaching a reporter late in the day, typically after meeting their deadline, is more likely to yield results. In terms of pitching weekend news teams — I find that very tough, especially for TV reporters working the morning news programs. Usually their shows are abbreviated on weekends and time is limited