media relations

Rock Star Media Secrets for Social Impact Thought Leaders

Wow!  I had the privilege of being part of Portland's annual Hacking Social Impact 2016. The place was chock full of social impact entrepreneurs and change agents, and I was proud to be there with them.  I had the chance to help these thought leaders become better equipped to get their message out through partnership and effective sharing with the media.

Would you like to get in on the how-to's of effective dialogue with journalists?  Just click through for your free presentation on being a "Social Impact Rock Star" - and let me know what you think!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Portland Radio Project, who kindly hosted the day's event at their iconic headquarters!

News & Media: The Power of the Critical Eye & Mind

As professional communicators, we can not stress the importance of applying a critical eye, and mind, to all news and opinions you read across digital and soc...ial channels.

This Washington Post article drives home the sophistication of people disseminating false news and social shares for their own agenda.

This piece from the Washington Post delivers a concise look at fake news, why it's being done, and the mult-faceted geopolitical and economic forces driving the proliferation of this phenomenon. 

New York Magazine: The Extraordinary, Inward-Facing Lens

The brutally candid survey, and what it says about us

New York magazine undertook a deep-dive survey into the heart, soul, psyche and habits of American journalists, and emerged with a revealing portrait of...us, the reading consumers.

Not on purpose, by any means,  The research, "The Case Against The Media.  By The Media" is a survey-and-summary driven look of the forces propelling journalism today, and the ways in which the writers' feel accountable. 

The reporting take a thorough look at how journalists are responding to the influx of social media and channel choices in covering the news, how the craving for highly-clickable headlines interferes with broader news coverage, the (almost) inability to provide in-depth coverage within a seconds-to-publish news cycle, and, as you guessed, and how the drive to profitability in a competitive news consumption marketplace has replaced deep news reporting with a "give the customers what they want" mentality.

The lessons to be learned from this survey and self-examination by the fourth estate are eye-opening, much more for consumers of the news, than those of produce it.  Doubly so for those of tasked with a role in the creation of it - the communicators.

While the journalists' interviewed held themselves mercilessly accountable for current media coverage trends, the rest of us need to take heed.

When it comes to creation of a better news and media product, it's upon the consumer to drive healthy content demand, not the journalist to force us to eat our editorial "vegetables."

Ironically, trust in the news-making institution is at an all-time low (only 21% of the public "trust" TV news these days), at the same time the media are giving us more of what we want then ever before:  irresistible content.

Competition, in the form of channel proliferation, the rise of social media as a news-capturing tool, has given consumers greater choice.  And our choice, demonstrated by our clicks and viewership, are snack-worthy headlines centered around scandal, personal and professional misconduct, celebrity doings and more.  We can do better, can't we?

As a consumer, the role I can play in turning this trend around is to simply be more mindful of what news I choose to consume.  The number one step to take?

Think before we click. 

This simple step will go far in re-directing the national flow of news away from the sensational, and back towards substance.

But, wait.  I'm a communicator first, which tasks me with a double-duty:  to create as responsibly as I consume, for myself and my clients.

So, it's  upon us to ensure accuracy in all we portray of our clients to the media, and to work tirelessly to elevate the media conversation towards the larger platform of thought leadership and market impact.

Insightful briefs on the topics driving technology and industry.  Informative articles that explain, not sale.  Working in tandem with our clients, we have the unique ability to drive accurate,  quality conversation in the marketplace of news and media coverage, to the betterment of their business as well as the quality of media content.

The irony is not only is this more fascinating reading for technology, business and consumer alike, it's a greater benefit for the industry, a more compelling look at issues over product features, and a chance to let journalists do what they do best:  report the news and issues of the day. 

Which in turn gives:

  •  Readers a more compelling reason to click and consume;
  • Business leaders a clear call to share their knowledge and insight;
  • Journalists the chance to shine.

A win-win for all involved.

So, I say "kudos" to New York magazine, andto the journalists willing to speak so frankly and with such high accountability. 

Now let's do our part as communicators and consumers to drive demand for the insightful, balanced news coverage those media professionals are chomping at the bit to produce, and that consumers are willing, ready and eager to read.

 
 

 

 

Thought Leadership Elite: How Do You Engage with Journalists?

Public Relations Engaging with Journalists

Become a Refreshing Resource for Story Ideas

Being a journalist in today’s media world is a little like being the only person with a glass of lemonade on a 100-degree day.

Everybody wants what the journalist has, and there is simply not enough to go around. 

So how does your company, with a perfectly solid news story idea, engage with a journalist so it makes sense for them to offer you a refreshing sip of that high-demand commodity known as media coverage?


Being a journalist in today’s media world is a little like being the only person with a glass of lemonade on a 100-degree day.


From "Give Me" to "How Can I Help?"

Most importantly, shift your priorities from a “give me coverage” perspective to one of partnership.  Focus on your role in creating news writer can use, and you’ll see your position shift from one of the nameless masses cluttering inboxes and social channels, to a that of trusted, and accessible, feature article resource.

The Three R’s of Public Relations Relevancy

To be an asset for a journalist, it’s vital to understand their one, over-riding prime directive:  the need to cover their beat. 

What’s a beat?  It’s the topic area they’ve been assigned to cover.  Whether it’s breaking news, insightful commentary or a predictive look at an emerging trend, they’re job is to cover the topic they are assigned to.  If it’s not on their beat, don’t bother.

So, to successfully engage with a journalist, you need to understand, and work with, each journalist’s prime directive.  Which means you need to be able to offer them news and story ideas that support, not distract, from their mission.  Don’t ask a fashion writer for coverage on your company’s technology.  And don’t ask a film reviewer to write about your latest camera.  You’ll both be so much happier if you keep this first and foremost in your mind.

Now,  on to the three “R’s” of public relations and earned media coverage:

The Three R’s

Relevancy: 

Your news or story idea must be relevant to the journalist and their reading (or viewing, or listening) communities.  If the journalist’s focus on data and cloud storage, don’t send them an advisory on your latest desktop software update.  If they write about footwear, don’t pitch them a story idea on your company’s newest wrinkle cream.  Be.  Relevant.  Refer to the section about “beats.”

Which takes us to the next Big R:

Reading: 

Read the journalist’s writing.  Read their community’s comments on his or her reporting.  Read the publication they write for, and their competitors.  The only way to be relevant to the journalist is to understand what they are doing.  And this requires taking in the news they produce.

Respect: 

Oh, this is perhaps the most broken rule of all.  “No” means no.  If a journalist is not interested, respect that.  Don’t ask for them to reconsider, don’t ask “why not.”  DON’T point out they covered a competitor or similar topic at another point.  They have a larger news agenda to consider, and if they don’t see your story as being a fit, then respect that.

There are some things you can do however…respectfully.  It is ok to ask them if they had feedback.  If they give you feedback, thank them and don’t argue, by the way.  If you haven’t gotten any response, it’s ok for a polite follow-up.  Follow-ups are better if you can add information to your previous story offer.  Expanding a story idea beats nagging anyd ay.  Pitch a different, better story more tuned to their needs.  Or, simply accept that this is not the story for them, and move on to greener media pastures.

Third Party Research:  The Backbone of the Pitch

It’s not that journalists don’t trust you; it’s just that their credibility is on the line with every story they write.  So, don’t just ask them to take your word for it when you offer them a story.  Back up your pitch with third party research whenever possible.

What is third party research?  It’s buttressing your claim about the importance of your company’s exercise tracking technology offering with data from the American Heart Association citing the importance of daily exercise.  Or augmenting your story on consumer interest in small-batch beer with data from the American Beverage Institute.

Don’t just say your company’s software solution drives productivity, cite customer case studies detailing the percentage gain in performance.

Make your media pitch matter by offering proven, credible news points.  Your journalist will thank you, and may even give your pitch, possibly the 100th one received before lunch, that critical second look.

Make It Easy

Journalists have it pretty hard:  intense deadlines, interview subject no-shows, demanding editors, diminished administrative support and vastly expanded requirements for social presence and interaction.  How they have time to actually write a story is anyone’s guess.

So, make it easy for them.  Create a simple, compelling headline.  Summarize your story in one paragraph (or less).  Create easy bullets outlining key pitch premises.  Include the credentials of the interview subject, or information about the company.  Offer URLs for quick source-checking.  Let them know you have graphics and photos.  PS – send them a link to the materials, or offer to send separately. 

Never send large, unsolicited file attachments to an editor.  It will be about as welcome as someone leaving a large pile of their laundry on your doorstep.

There’s so much more to share on this topic, and, of course, there’s art and science to writing a pitch a journalist will read (even after you’ve done your research, and all of the steps above).  But that’s a post for another day.

To Wrap Things Up:

·       Have a “how can I help” attitude, not a “what can you give me”

·       Remember the Three R’s:  Relevancy, Reading & Respect

·       Include credible, third-party research to support your story idea

·       Make it easy with concise story ideas, credited sources, background info & legally-usable graphics and photos

Questions or comments?  Please feel free to contact me at:  pam@prapublicrelations.com, or call: 1.503.298.9749.