By now, it’s common knowledge traditional media outlets are suffering. Advertising sales are way down, which means print publications are closing their doors at an alarming rate, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the Ann Arbor News. This ever-shifting media landscape means it’s even more important for PR pros to stay on top of who’s still out there and what they’re looking to cover. In light of this, here are some tips on pitching both local and national media – everyone can use a refresher every now and then.
Keep these tips in mind, and check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – beneficial for journalists and PR pros alike. You’ll receive three e-mails a day with queries from reporters who are looking for something specific. For example – one of my clients, Kevin Rej of Raise Studio, has an amazing vintage lunchbox collection. A few weeks ago, a writer for a magazine in San Francisco was looking to speak with a lunchbox collector. I pitched Kevin, they did the interview, and the article is scheduled for the magazine’s July issue. It’s like having a constantly updated editorial calendar delivered to your inbox! It’s important to note that Peter Shankman, the HARO facilitator, is serious about on-target pitches. He’s been known to blacklist PR people if reporters/journalists report off topic submissions.
The bottom line – the competition for editorial coverage has gotten tighter, so we have to work smarter by taking time to do our research before picking up the phone or sending an e-mail. The pitch has to be succinct and relevant in order for the news to turn into a story. Use news sites and social media to stay on top of the changing media landscape and constantly update your list with media on the way out, and new outlets appearing on the scene.