Harnessing the Power of Media Relations

I love my job. I get to work with not one, but two great teams – my TSN Communications coworkers, of course, but also my journalist colleagues.

I worked as a journalist for 12 years before getting into marketing communications and PR, and thus I feel like I know newsrooms and how journalists work. This is very important in meeting their needs while also representing my clients.

I feel like I have to provide journalists exactly what they need when they need it – and sometimes, proactively anticipate those needs – while being mindful of their “new normal.”

The Great Recession did no favors to the media. Newsrooms have shrunk, and yet there is an insatiable demand for news, driven by the searchability of the web and the share ability of social media. Twelve-hour days are now the norm for most journalists. And guess what? They are bombarded daily with dozens of story pitches that range from the good to the bad to the ugly. If you need proof, check out the posts made by journalists at the Twitter feed @dearpr. Ugh.

These are the tenets I stand by in my day-to-day work:

Bring actual news to journalists. How does my client’s innovative product or service tie into a larger trend? I try to illustrate why the news I’m bringing matters to readers, viewers or listeners.

Be succinct. Journalists simply don’t have time for long blocks of email text, or rambling phone calls. I use bullets and boldface in emails, and sketch out a brief phone script to guide my phone calls.

Be persistent in follow up, but not annoying. Calling a journalist five times per day to find out if they got your pitch = very annoying. Following up in a day or two = smart. Calling back when a journalist asks you to and bringing a new nugget of insight = very smart.

I think there is a certain elegance to working with journalists, whether trade publication editors, newspaper reporters or television producers. They are interested in the resources and personnel I can provide — assuming it’s relevant to their audience.

But I have to “play the game” on their terms. I can do that because I know how their game works.

Any questions? Contact us!

National Public Relations Firm