Despite how the world’s changed in recent months, the fundamental axiom of media relations remains unchallenged.
- Do your research
- Reporters and news outlets still need content
- Regardless of whether your story is COVID-19 related or not, PR has an opportunity to be a lifeline to time-strapped journalists.
That much and more was made clear at PRNEWS’ Media Relations Strategy in the Midst of a Global Crisis webinar on April 29. PRNEWS’ Editor Seth Arenstein talked with Nicole Dye-Anderson, Barclaycard’s AVP of media relations-partnerships and media relations educator and expert Michael Smart about the work they’re doing, while Reuters’ digital special project editor Lauren Young broke down how reporting has changed for her and her colleagues.
For the last few weeks, Young and her teams have been covering the coronavirus pandemic 24/7, and she said that’s not likely to change right now. Almost every reporter is on the COVID-19 beat in some fashion.
Even though targeting may require more research than before, it’s never been more important for PR to do the work and know who they’re pitching. Young said that PR has been a great resource for her in helping connect reporters to real people for their stories, which has been a challenge with stay-at-home orders and many working from their homes.
But if the pitch isn’t relevant to the reporter or outlet, there’s little hope for securing coverage. With reporters drowning in emails and working feverishly to cover the pandemic, there’s little time to sift through irrelevant pitches.
That’s why Smart said that who you pitch can be more important than when you pitch. This is especially true of non-coronavirus stories. There’s a definite need for content unrelated to the pandemic, so putting in the work to target and find the right niche for your pitch can make all the difference.
For Barclaycard’s Dye-Anderson, getting everyone on board internally will help ensure PR is working toward the right outcomes. For her, that’s making sure to interact with the social media team, as well as the internal communications and marketing teams. That way, messaging decisions will remain consistent throughout the business.
“We want to lead with compassion,” she said. “Yes, we still need to move forward with this non-virus related announcement, but then that becomes, how do we message thoughtfully and be creative and find an angle? You want to make sure your message is resonating, not only with the media but with the audience."
You can download the full webinar here.