It’s hard to attract the attention of a mass-media journalist at a time when most of the media is absorbed with covering gossipy daily distraction stories, two top-flight D.C. reporters told PR News’ Media Relations conference December 6. Still, there are ways to pitch substantive stories to journalists, including finding a person to profile who’s been touched by a policy decision.
It’s an oft-asked question in PR: How do I get media to listen to my pitch and perhaps gain some coverage? A panel of journalists and PR pros offered answers to this query during a session on media pitching at PR News’ Media Relations conference Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C.
One of the top issues with PR pros asked to pitch stories to the media is getting coverage in major media. So many executives think the Sun rises and falls with the Wall St. Journal and the NY Times. OK, so how do you get a mention in one of those papers? We asked someone who’s climbed that mountain to give us tips.
We caught up with Muck Rack COO Natan Edelsburg ahead of his panel appearance at PR News’ Media Relations Conference, going down Dec. 6 at D.C.’s National Press Club, to hear what communicators can learn to better interact with journalists on social.
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.