How you approach journalists and bloggers affects your ability to reach key influencers and achieve a positive, measurable outcome.
This was the focus of the webinar held a couple of weeks ago, How to Pitch Journalists in a New Media World, headed by Brian Solis, (@briansolis) principal of the new media and public relations agency FutureWorks, and David Pogue (@Pogue), tech columnist for the New York Times. NST recently sat down to discuss the information presented in the webinar and our own pitching tactics.
In the world of new media, Solis and Pogue urged that if PR professionals want to reach consumers through journalists, bloggers and other social media platforms, they need to change the way outreach is done. Connections and relationships with the media cannot be made unless people in PR understand the needs and interests of the people who they are pitching.
Injecting the mentality of “what’s in it for the reader” into the process of writing releases and pitches is more important than ever. In order to craft a quality news release, it is important to know what information is newsworthy and why it would be newsworthy to a media outlet’s readers or viewers. Our staff has long adhered to a writing model developed by our founder, Kerry Tucker, that is used in everything created at NST from news releases, to pitch letters, to press kits. The format is all about presenting information in a compelling way to elicit behavioral change. Through this model, we’re able to meet the needs of readers, and relationships with media can be formed while increasing the likelihood of coverage.
It is important to not only reach out to the traditional media sources in broadcast and print but also to search out the trust agents in new media because many of them reside outside of traditional media outlets. People now look to bloggers and to Twitter to find their news and get real opinions about products, companies and trends. Reaching out to the right trust agents means that the right consumers are getting the information. At NST we have discussed the importance of finding these reporters in the new media world and understanding not just the beat of each reporter or blogger, but what topics interest them. It is important for PR professionals to do their research and to look at some of the most recent articles or blog posts written by a reporter to truly understand if they would cover their client’s news or what about the news would be of interest to the reporter. Even if your pitch is newsworthy, it won’t get coverage if it lands in the hands of the wrong reporter or blogger.
Outreach to the new media must not only be targeted, but PR professionals need to use new avenues available in social media, such as Twitter, to pitch the message. By researching the current social media trends, NST can confidently pursue alternative forms of media outreach as well as stay on top of who is the current influential in a given market. The difficulty, of course, is finding these influentials in the new media world of Twitter, blogs and Facebook. At NST, we find the trust agents listening to conversations on social media platforms and we often share tips for finding groups and for creating meaningful interactions on these outlets.
Crafting targeted releases, reaching out to appropriate media contacts, and using social media to find trust agents is ultimately how PR professionals can spark interest, join the conversation, create meaningful and long-term relationships with the media, and, most importantly, it’s how PR remains relevant.