Reporters are people, too
When I just started my career as a public relations professional, I didn’t exactly get a “Media Relations 101” presentation. Instead, I received instructions to get my agency’s clients coverage.
I remember one day trying to get a newspaper reporter in North Carolina interested in running a story on a new facility that had been opened in the area the reporter covers.
- Did I order back issues of the paper to read what the reporter had been writing? No.
- Did I try to find local residents who would now benefit from this new service, to possibly pitch a human interest story? No.
- Did I even call the reporter to ask if I could set up a meeting, to learn what stories she liked writing – and what stories her audience enjoyed reading? Nope.
This was more than 10 years ago, so I didn’t even have all the tools that are now available to learn more about what reporters are covering. Now we have online publications to read recent articles written, blogs that can shed light on a reporter’s personalities and interests, Twitter feeds to read and learn more about what the editors are working on.
When you’re pitching a reporter, remember that they are a person, too. They have interests, deadlines, pressures from their bosses. They aren’t in existence to confirm they received a press release and run it in its entirety. Try getting to know the media contacts who are receiving your pitches, emails and releases. I’ll be it makes a big difference in your quality of work.