PART 1: How to make the media hear you out
Today, we are equipped with an abundance of channels for reaching out to the media. Contacting the media once involved sending them information in the form of a press release or an email pitch, and following up with a phone call. While the basics remain the same, our methods have innovated over time, especially with the proliferation of online platforms.
As PR professionals, we continue to put ourselves in the journalists’ shoes by taking into consideration the vast amount of information they receive in a day. Though connecting with journalists has become easier, the growing abundance of news makes it harder for us to make them pick ours up.
How can we make ourselves heard in this competitive environment?
- A helping hand: When deciding on the main points we want to share with the media, we must ensure that what we are providing helpful information that equips them to write a successful story and aligns with their readership, while also benefiting our clients.
- Base it on them: You will be shooting in the dark if you do not understand what your contacts are looking for. Identifying what types of stories they feature is the first step, followed by understating their interests and their writing style.
- Impress within the first 30 seconds: When it comes to pitching, you have only 30 seconds to create an impactful impression. Use this time wisely and always go into pitches with a catchy headline in mind.
- Use the news to your advantage: News is our bread and butter. By picking up on trending topics and contributing to them, we can support the media when it comes to producing time sensitive stories. This includes sharing opinions, comments and solutions from our clients.
- Prepare and practice: Being prepared for a pitch includes knowing exactly what your story is about, how it relates to its wider context, and how it can support the news. Go in with a clear idea of how you are going to sell your story and why it’s important — and then practice!
Adding to these tactics, we now have many digital channels that make it even easier to connect with the media and catch their attention quickly. I’ll be exploring them in the next part of my blog.
Lovelyn Rodrigues is the Senior Account Executive of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. | www.cbpr.me