In today’s world of media relations, it is more important than ever to maintain good relationships with the news outlets, publications, and journalists who cover the brands you work with because their time is more valuable than ever! When you look around, you will quickly notice that the media landscape is shifting. Media outlets are shrinking. This is leaving assignment editors, publishers, and journalists with fewer resources to work with, yet tighter deadlines to meet as the demand for news is now instant. You may be wondering, “What does this mean for PR professionals who practice media relations?”
First and foremost, it means that you need to be well-prepared if you want to get the media coverage your client is looking for. But there are other media relations dos and don’ts you should practice and be aware of if you want to garner the coverage you have planned for with your client. We have put together a list of the top 5 media relations dos and don’ts to help you with an effective media relations campaign:
1. Do know the journalist you are reaching out to and the beat they cover – Remember that you are trying to build a relationship. There is no bigger insult than sending a journalist who covers a specific area of news (for example technology) a completely unrelated pitch (for example a new restaurant opening). Not only will you not get a response, you might have destroyed a great relationship before it even had the chance to begin. Do your homework on the journalist before you send out a pitch.
2. Don’t forget to reply to a journalist – If a journalist takes the time to read your pitch and shows interest, don’t reply three days later when he or she has let you know they are on a tight deadline. Not only will you lose potential coverage, you might also lose that journalist’s respect and response next time.
3. Do follow up – Journalists are busy, and they receive hundreds of pitches a day. If you don’t hear back within two to three business days, follow up politely and ask them if there is any interest in the story angle you’ve sent him or her.
4. Don’t bombard a journalist’s inbox or answering machine – If they don’t get back to you after you’ve sent a follow up email and/or left a follow up voicemail, they might be busy, or uninterested. That is okay. Try again next time.
5. Lastly, do remember to proofread your pitch – The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself by sending a pitch that has numerous grammatical mistakes, or offend a journalist or editor by misspelling his or her name. Not only will your pitch get looked over, they might not take you seriously next time.