Several members of our Reputation team recently attended a PRSA-sponsored media panel to hear from some local journalists. One major takeaway was that by no means do they want to receive follow-up phone calls. While it's no surprise, it's a little unsettling. Follow-up calls used to be a major part of PR pitching to ensure the information was received and talk through the details. So as email volume increases, print press materials fall to the wayside and the media continues to be spread so thin, how can you ensure that your story makes it to the headlines? We have a few strategic suggestions:
The perfect pitch.
It's more important than ever that whoever is sending pitches on behalf of your company is sending unique pitches for each outlet. They must do their research and target appropriately. Pitches must be personal, courteous and valuable to that particular writer.
Provide your team with something worth talking about.
Your PR team is probably very good, but they're only as good as the information you give them. Be sure to spend time with them, ensuring that they understand your story, hear your sound bites and that they feel confident when they call your target media. Continue this education at every meeting so that your team is always on top of your company's information and possible story angles.
Don't forget about social media.
Twitter may be the new voice mail. Many reporters will respond to a tweet from a publicist to help get the conversation going or in some cases, an online conversation will remind the reporter of that email that's been sitting flagged in their inbox.
Physical deliveries of press materials can still work, but they must stand out. A healthy budget helps your reputation team deliver something noticeable, clever, worth opening and memorable.
Be realistic in your expectations.
Keep in mind that the media scape is growing every day, with more niche outlets than ever before. Consider what's realistic for your company and be strategic with your team to determine not just the outlets that have the highest circulation numbers, but those that best reach your target audience. Those are the ones that will respond best to your pitch.
The follow-up phone call still comes in handy, but mostly for media with whom we already have a relationship. Make sure that your reputation team has great relationships with the media and that they are empowered financially and with the right information to be targeted, noticeable and therefore, successful.