In this age of mirage media, securing the right media for your clients could be a daunting task. But let’s examine the following tips as professionals.
Opportunities abound, however, to gauge that rhythm and work within it to ensure absolute benefits:
1. Know when to hit “send” on a pitch.
Media researchers annually study the “when” part of pitching. Anecdotal evidence supports their findings.
Media professionals identified 10am – 12noon (Nigeria time) as the time when journalists are most receptive to pitches. Fridays are out, unless someone is writing or producing a weekend story. Sending emails or calling on weekends is ridiculous unless you have the perfect contact for a breaking story.
“When I was a journalist, the best time to reach out to me was mid-morning,” adds Jeremy Gonsior, a former Holland Sentinel reporter who now runs a content marketing agency in Holland, Michigan. “I was usually developing stories then and pitching them to my editors. As far as days of the week, Thursday was especially effective because I was preparing to write a few stories for the weekend and I needed some ideas.” He added.
2. Do your homework to personalize the pitch.
The author of the pitch should personalize the message to attract her interest.
Personalization is important to the “how” part of public relations. It’s where experience and understanding become invaluable. It involves meaningful connections and builds trust at a professional and personal level.
“Radio hosts typically go to guests they know or have had on because of certain dynamics of radio that don’t exist for television,” Leibsohn says. “The guests’ radio hosts want, or go to, ‘get’ how to do radio. They know they have to sound clear on the telephone, they know they need to be sensitive to wrapping up answers as music comes on leading to a hard break, they know since there are no visuals or other visual props or chyrons that the conversation itself has to be interesting and draw people in.”
Leibsohn says that speakers represented by credible public relations professionals help because they have built a record of delivering high-quality guests. A relationship that required years to build can disappear with one or two flakes.
“I can’t tell you how many publishers and others have given me really bad guests with no training and I’ve tried to politely tell them after that I am happy to help train them but they were terrible, etc., and they just couldn’t care less,” Leibsohn says. “They cared about the numbers and the next booking.”
3. Spend time on the message.
Another great way to earn the disdain of media professionals is to blast pitches to anyone with a publicly available email address or disguise a marketing email as a pitch.
Jonah Bennett, national security and politics reporter for The Daily Caller, says that he prefers the meat of the message in the first two sentences, at which point he decides whether to continue reading.
He works best with people whom he’s developed relationships with over years of trading tips and talking about much more than the content provided in a single email. Public relations folks who incorporate gimmicks to trick him into opening mail become infuriating.
4. Prepare for breaking news.
Suppose an expert or CEO finally establishes a relationship with someone in the news media. The interview is scheduled or the article is confirmed for publication. You’re holding your breath by this time. Then the worst happens: breaking news.
It is the bane of every public relations pro. It disrupts the media rhythm, and all the best-laid plans are tossed aside as bookers and reporters scramble to secure sources.
Accessing coverage is a skill like any other, one that requires practice and experience. It is a matter of understanding the rules to get in the game.
Have a great week ahead, folks.