I spent the early years of my career on the other side of the PR fence – writing the articles and news stories, rather than pitching them in.
These years gave me first hand experience of how easily PR professionals seem to forget that there is a real human making their way through emails, answering the phone and with their own agenda for the working day. It really highlighted what it actually is that makes a pitch stand out, how PR professionals can increase the chances of their story being run, and cultivate mutually beneficial working relationships with journalists.
So, here are my top tips, and as with so much in life, it all comes down to respect!
Know your audience.
Blue Planet PR has never adopted a ‘spray and pray’ model as our media relations approach.
I firmly believe that through a targeted and intentional strategy, you can get higher quality coverage for your clients and protect your long-term relationships with journalists.
When pitching a story, offer it to journalists who will be genuinely interested. You are simply wasting everyone’s time if you are offering a lifestyle piece to a business reporter, for example. Look at who has written about the subject in the past, and offer them a unique angle. Social media, particularly Twitter, can be a really valuable tool for gauging a journalist’s particular focus.
Know your deadlines.
As with any working relationship, being respectful of the journalist’s time is extremely important.
Conduct follow up at a time convenient to them (this info is easy to access through platforms such as Medianet), give them adequate time to pitch the story to their editor, carry out any interviews, and write the article. Even if the journalist loves the story idea, they won’t be able to pursue it if you have left it too late before the news is breaking.
Make it as easy as possible for them to pull the story together. Ensure all of your spokespeople and case studies are lined up and available for interview. Accompany your pitch with supporting assets. Depending on the outlet, these could be hi-res images, b-roll, and/or high quality audio grabs.
Lastly, it seems so simple, but make sure your emails are concise and don’t contain any spelling or grammatical errors.
We would love to hear your tips for fostering great working relationships with journalists, leave a comment on our latest IG post: @blueplanetpr.