Guest blogger: Media relations expert Jessica Killenberg, Vice President – Account Services, Bianchi PR
According to a recent 2009 Journalist Survey on Media Relations Practices by Bulldog Reporter/TEKgroup International, Web demands are “insane” for journalists. Digital media often requires more work without more staff. In some cases, triple the amount of output volume is expected from journalists, who are expected to feed the voracious web monster 24/7.
As PR practitioners, we must be mindful of the strain journalists are under and be respectful when pitching story ideas. So, how can we help journalists cut through the clutter and deliver content that is applicable to their readers?
Here are five tips that can help YOU help THEM:
1. It all starts with a well-tailored media list. And by that we mean pitching the right story to the right reporter on the right beat. There are plenty of resources that can help you accomplish this MediAtlas, Cision, specific publication Web sites, etc. You can also use Wikipedia as a starting point for media in a particular city or Google for publication categories, such as “healthcare management magazines” or “automotive aftermarket magazines.”
2. Opt for targeted one-on-one media pitching. While mass distribution of a news release is often standard, in most cases a targeted pitch to a few key media can bring the results you are ultimately looking for. Develop your media “wish list” and go for it one at a time. Keeping in mind that your topic needs to be worthy of that publication and its audience. Unfortunately, not every story idea will be front page Wall Street Journal material, but it could be just the right story for a key trade or local publication.
3. Provide the reporter with as much background information as possible. But make sure the information is synthesized for ease of use. Provide key points and important data. This can be in the form of a brief fact sheet, backgrounder or a chart/graph. It can even be past news releases, if they help provide bench depth on the topic you are pitching.
4. Have appropriate expert sources available. Not only within your organization, but perhaps outside as well, so the reporter can get the complete story. For example, consumers of your product, participants in your study, beneficiaries of your charitable contribution, etc. And make sure those sources are well prepared with a briefing memo that contains possible questions, talking points and information on the reporter and publication.
5. Have hi-res images ready. We can’t say this enough … “EVERYONE READS PICTURES” and with every story you pitch, you ought to make sure there is a high-resolution image to go along with it. It will certainly help increase the chances of your story making it in print. For print publications, you’ll want to provide 300 to 600 dpi (dots per inch) images in a .jpg format. For newspapers, 300 dpi in a .jpg format will work best. And for online publications, resolution is irrelevant, as the web image will need to expand or shrink to 72 dpi due to computer monitor settings.
Any other tips come to mind? Let us know …