Media relations is about more than just pitching the press. It’s also about building valuable relationships with reporters.
Here are three timely ways to “keep the love alive” with your press contacts this Valentine’s Day and beyond:
1. Practice greater transparency. Fake news isn’t going away. It will continue to hijack headlines, public consciousness and social media feeds this entire year.
“One reason is that social media platforms don’t move quickly when making changes,” says Mashable deputy tech editor Damon Beres. “That means we’ll hear about their attempts to control misinformation throughout the year.”
A recent example is Facebook’s partnership with the Poynter Institute. It’s just one component of the Facebook Journalism Project, a longer-term initiative to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry.
The focus on fake news clearly affects PR. “Reporters are now more suspicious of information they receive,” Beres says. “That includes everything from pitches to company articles, posts and tweets.”
Deeper sourcing is now a prerequisite for anything you send the press. “Be as transparent as possible with sources and research methodologies behind the data or information you’re publishing,” he advises.
Register for PR Daily’s February 16 “Consumer Tech Pitch Tank” webinar for more tips from Engadget’s Daniel Cooper, Damon Beres at Mashable, David Freeman at NBCNews.com, Lisa Johnston at TWICE and David Hamilton at The Associated Press.
2. Avoid late Friday pitches. “The ‘5 p.m. Friday pitch’ drives me crazy,” says Beres. “Whether it’s an email or call, there’s no chance I’ll see it or even respond to it.”
He admits this peeve is “hyper-specific,” but is quick to call out another practice most journalists hate: immediate follow-ups.
“One to two days is just too soon,” Beres says. “Also, don’t ask if we got your email. We got it. If we don’t respond, it implies we’re not interested.”
3. Eschew @ pitches. Most journalists don’t mind being followed by PR pros on social media, but that doesn’t mean they want to be pitched publicly there.
Beres is no exception. “Smart PR people first engage me in an organic basis on Twitter,” he says. “If I follow them, they might DM me a pitch later. It’s a fine art, but it’s certainly never an @ pitch.”
Ed Zitron of EZPR (@edzitron) is a good example. “He DM’d me a pitch about a sleep sensor and app called Sense,” says Beres. “The pitch worked because it wasn’t blind. There was a personal interaction first. He had a good vibe and the product was good, so I wrote a story about it.”
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Damon Beres at Mashable, Daniel Cooper at Engadget, David Freeman at NBCNews.com, David Hamilton at The Associated Press and Lisa Johnston at TWICE will share more tech trends and pitching tips in PR University’s February 16 webinar, “Consumer Tech Pitch Tank: Editors Share New Story Trends and Placement Secrets.”