“Discussion about newsworthiness – very thought provoking.”
“Contemplating the synergistic effects of a comprehensive media strategy.”
“Hearing real life cases you have been a part of was generating ideas.”
These were some of the comments made about the value of last Thursday’s first session of Kessel Communications’ Summer Seminar Series, “Public Relations: Telling your story to those who matter.”
The first session, Getting in Front of Media, generated some engaging discussion in a variety of areas to help enhance how we can strategically go about being a reliable and helpful resource to media on an ongoing basis. For those who couldn’t attend, here’s a brief summary of key takeaways from our dialogue:
The role of media is to tell “the” story, not necessarily “your” story. Having this outlook will go a long way as we pitch, reach out and work with media.
We should approach media relations with the mindset of being helpful to 1) readers, listeners and viewers, and 2) helpful to reporters so they can tell “the” story.
Why would a reporter, editor or producer say yes to a pitch? Because there’s value to their readers, listeners or viewers. Questions to consider as you think through the newsworthiness of your pitch: Are you part of a trend? How is business success being achieved during tough economic times? Are you coming out with new research findings?
Be prepared to react quickly once a reporter or producer says “yes” by being able to confirm an interview, provide additional relevant information such as a fact sheet, bios, data and statistics, and offer other sources who can present a different perspective to the story such as a customer, vendor, project lead, or volunteer.
Having an updated online media room (or simply having one) should also be part of the preparation process. Media visit our websites when they want more information so we need to have information that is going to be helpful to them as they develop the story.
An editor joins the discussion
As an added bonus, Joe Carbonara, editor in chief of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine, joined us via conference call and provided us with these helpful insights:
Take the time to know what an outlet covers and understand what a writer’s beat is. And when you get a reporter or editor on the phone, take time to understand what they consider to be news. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what’s important to them and who they’re writing for.
Understand timing and editorial coverage. Magazines have longer lead times, sometimes 60 and 90 days or longer in advance. So your pitch needs to be in line with what they are working on right now, which may be three months away.
National Runaway Switchboard, a client of Kessel Communications, offers a good example of this long lead time. November is National Runaway Prevention Month, yet we’ve already started doing some initial outreach so we can start having conversations and make sure we’re part of the editorial coverage in the fall.
Your pitch may not be an exact fit, but a reporter may be working on something that is related. Be flexible and prepared to react and have a conversation about what you could provide to help them with the story.
Next session: It’s news to you, but is it news to them?
On Thursday, July 19, we’ll hold another session entitled, “It’s news to you, but is it news to them?” The focus will be on writing newsworthy press releases and other compelling articles and content that get read, picked up and shared.
We’ll have another special guest share their knowledge on content so sign up now. A few spots remain. Visit http://kesselcommunications.eventbrite.com to reserve your seat.