For all the sometimes contentious back-and-forth between PR pros and journalists, both types of communicator share some similar goals when it comes to getting a story published. Similarly, both roles share a need to master artful pitching, and knowing what an artful pitch looks like. When it comes to media pitching, staying mindful of your audience means that the PR pros getting the highest return on their pitches know what it means to think like a journalist.
PayPal’s director of corporate communications, Amanda Miller, shares how PayPal packages its data to easily leads journalists to a story. “I believe that the relationship between a publicist and a reporter is a partnership, a collaboration,” she says. “We both have a job to do, and it’s my job to give you the information you need to tell the story that I want you to tell, then work with you to help make sure that the facts are accurate.”
You’ve no doubt heard the PR maxim, “Act like a reporter.” Veteran communicator Arthur Solomon offers tips on how to do that using the backdrop of cable’s political talk shows and broadcast networks’ nightly newscasts. He also provides advice on the best ways to write pitches and press releases.
Properly pitching journalists is a subtle art, especially in our rapidly changing media landscape. So how can communicators use these shifts to their advantage in their pitching strategy, instead of getting lost in the shuffle? Here are some tactics top communicators use to make sure journalists not only see their pitches, but want to write about their brands’ stories.
Communicators pointed to four major tactics that they have successfully implemented to earn trust, get their more difficult clients in the press, open their minds to spend, and change their opinions of the value that PR can bring to business.
On the surface, this effort to give Senator Warren’s claims factual support seemed like an artfully executed campaign. Later that day, though, it became clear that the DNA test had done more harm than good. Senator Warren’s gaffe amounts to lessons learned for communicators about timing, why mixing heritage into your outreach strategies can be a dangerous game, and how to take cultural stand without angering any constituency of people.
The idea that most Americans have lost the ability to speak civilly to each other in these uncertain times may not be Robert Reich’s alone, but he offered an imperative specific to the 2,500+ communicators at the international PRSA confab—in an age when people don’t know how to talk to each other, or how to listen, it’s communications pros who must act as stewards and promoters of civility. “You are people who set the tone very much for what we and how we communicate,” Reich says. “And there is now a vitriol, and anger in the system. We are not communicating.”
We know change is difficult. And there are few professions where change has disrupted things more than journalism. A PR News study looks at how communicators have and have not changed their approach to pitching journalists. A Muck Rack/Zeno Group study examines how journalists have altered their approach to what they do each day.
It’s great when you’ve got a client who’s a leader in their market or whose product or service is a headline-grabber or springboard for social sharing. But what do you do with a smaller client who’s not a natural newsmaker and for whom PR may be at best, foreign and at worst, a distasteful chore?
Though he despised some of what the media said about him, John McCain believed a strong press was critical to democracy’s survival. As a result, he respected the media and made sure his staff did, too. This strong relationship with the media helped McCain to receive fair treatment from the press. In addition, during a difficult moment for the senator, the media came to his defense.