If you need help pitching to press, then it behooves you to check out these additional online resources. For the budget-strapped, they are free (or they offer a substantial free trial), and are packed with helpful material to hone your media savvy.
HARO (www.helpareporter.com)—The single best pitching aid of the last decade. Peter Shankman, a super-connected entrepreneur, became overwhelmed by requests from his journalist friends, who frequently requested Shankman’s help in tapping into his valuable and diverse network of sources. So he launched HARO—Help a Reporter Out. This free e-bulletin arrives in inboxes three times daily, bursting with leads from notable reporters from nearly every outlet imaginable, all of whom are actively seeking specific products and sources. Targeting reporters who actually want to hear from you has never been easier.
The Bad Pitch Blog (www.badpitch.blogspot.com)—The biting wit of PR gurus Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan takes careful aim at real-life PR no-nos and dissects them for all to enjoy. Not only is the site funny, it may just save you the embarrassment of making the same mistake that landed some other poor sap on their site.
Bulldog Reporter (BulldogReporter.com) offers a free four-week trial of their insightful media databases. They take much of the legwork out of targeting by keeping an up-to-date and remarkably accurate list of media members’ specific beats and preferences, often in their own words. Individual pet peeves and deadlines are also sometimes listed. They also host an annual media relations summit.
These resources were compiled by Brooke Preston, PR manager at Dayton Communications in Portland, Oregon. A larger version of this article will appear in PR News' upcoming Media Training Guidebook 2008/2009 edition. Check back with prnewsonline.com for updates.