The opportunity to meet a reporter or blogger you need to pitch and interacting personally is hard to pass up. For this reason, media panels draw PR folks like flies to honey. I attended two such panels this past month. One was hosted by Business Wire and the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Twin Cities Chapter, and the other by Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (MNPRSA). The NIRI panel focused on business media editors and engaging them in a digital and social world. The MNPRSA focused on blurred media lines and included a non-traditional media panel. Here are some of the key points from each of the panels.
The truths in pitching
- Use email as your first resource and keep the subject short and to the point.
- Yes, journalists are all on social media, but it is probably not the best place to pitch them. They are using social media to find story ideas and share their work.
- Be professional.
- Don’t send automated emails with “Dear (wrong name or no name).” It’s obvious it’s not a personal email.
- Find a way to tell them what is different. Give them the story behind the story.
- Photos can differentiate your pitch, but don’t make them look like an ad.
- Bullets and lists in your email pitch make it easy to digest.
- Follow-up calls are annoying, but they often work.
The new and interesting
- Consider differentiating your pitch to a web publication with a professional video that is not sales oriented.
- Social media buzz around an ad can lead to media coverage.
- Missy Berggren, Marketing Mama, says a Tweet to follow-up with her on a pitch is OK with her.
- Reporters often go around the PR person and use social media to confirm stories. Dirk DeYoung, editor at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, used LinkedIn to confirm layoffs at Target.
- Most of the bloggers are more open to having you reach out to the editor and various contributors than traditional outlets, because there are fewer full-time staff at the blogs.
David Fondler, business news editor at St. Paul Pioneer Press, reminds folks to own their negative stories, because any employee can confirm it to an editor on Twitter at any time.
Creating good quality content on your corporate or personal blog is a great way to get your message to consumers. Smaller specialty blog posts can lead to attention by larger blogs or mainstream media. MinnPost has the Minnesota Blog Cabin, where they highlight one Minnesota blog with good writing each day.
I created a Storify of the NIRI event. Missy Berggen wrote a great post with tips for working with bloggers on her blog. Plus, check out tips for pitching broadcast media and smart tips for media pitching success.
Debbie Friez serves as tech editor for the Capitol Communicator and is also a consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.
Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.
She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).
Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.
LinkedIn: dfriez Twitter: @dfriez