The relationship between a reporter and a PR professional is a delicate one. In the search to secure coverage for our clients, the line between following up and aggressively stalking the media can become blurry. So how do we pitch without peeving the press? We went right to the source to find out the most critical missteps we make, saving you from burning bridges or making an appearance on www.badpitchblog.com.
A broadcast news reporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared four faux pas, and fixes for handling the media the right way.
- Faux Pas #1 – Constant calling. We get it. You have to do it. But if you’re going to make someone pick up the phone, know what to ask. Also, if two follow-ups don’t get you an answer, you may want to move on.
- Fix #1 – Ask if your event is in the daybook and see if a reporter is interested and available to cover it. Broadcast news doesn’t know if they’ll cover an event until the day of, so calling weeks in advance isn’t going to generate the results you want.
- Faux Pas #2 – Pitching blind. Understand the business and the outlets. Don’t call WWL-TV and ask for the “News with a Twist” reporter. Beat reporters are rare in today’s broadcast world, so asking who covers healthcare or education at a TV station won’t lead to much information.
- Fix #2 – Do your homework. Perhaps even…wait for it…watch the news. Staying up-to-date on what outlets are covering will provide you with ideas for making your topics timely (more to come on that) and help make sure you get your facts straight.
- Faux Pas #3 – Forgetting that TV is a visual media. When pitching TV, think of ways you can create a visual story. Talking head interviews aren’t interesting to viewers or producers.
- Fix #3 – Provide compelling images and b-roll when pitching and bring visuals that tie to your story. Include captions that can accompany photos and consider developing additional assets, like infographics, that could be used for web coverage.
- Faux Pas #4 – Pitching a non-story. A challenging and critical part of a PR professional’s job is creating something newsworthy out of nothing. Creativity is necessary in creating engaging content and interview opportunities.
- Fix #4 – Have a timely angle – Think about what people want to watch. Create calendars of holidays, events and observances to connect with your client’s news. Make sure your news answers the important question of viewers and media – “why should I care?”.
What are some ways that you dazzle the media? Tweet us your advice @DEVENEYnola using #DEVchat.