The Media Insider user dashboard is simple and easy to use to help you discover media. Have you heard the term ‘no one’s got time for that”? That is how we feel about complicated backend dashboards. You need to be able to call or email a media contact immediately.
Our goal is that you find that person or entity fast! We chose NOT to incorporate a platform that hosts your communication with the media because your contact should come from your entities domain and lessen the opportunity for spam or junk. You can even download the entire database or just the list you made, then upload it into your own contact software. No need to learn another one.
By the way, many lists service rely on the media entity to keep their information updated. We do not. We give media access to update their profile, but we don’t wait for that or expect it. Twice a year, all media profiles are checked for accuracy.
By the way …
Did you know that the average reporter spends just seconds reviewing a press release before deciding whether to hit delete or read it?
Here are TEN TIPS when contacting a Journalist/Columnist/Editor/Reporter:
1. Build relationships with media contacts. Comment on their online stories or the media social media accounts. Let them know that you respect their profession and what they choose to right about, even if you don’t agree. Avoid the ‘one and done’ of reaching out if the coverage is about you or your company. If your audience reads online newspapers or high-end magazines or political blogs, you best read them too, know what is being covered and who covers those topics.
2. Are you aware of headlines or trends relating to your company? Showing awareness of other stories related to your industry tends to help you to be seen as an expert or leading in the topic for the industry. How do you know what you know? What is the impact your company or story have on the topic being written about?
3. Did you know that producers and news director, as well as general managers have the final say in what gets covered? Yes, it’s disappointing when everyone involved has worked hard on a story and it gets dropped. A Journalists/Columnists/Editors/Reporters do not have complete editorial control.
4. Now let’s talk about THAT story. The first thing to do is ask yourself: Is it newsworthy? Is it visual? Is the story easy to tell? Answering “I think it is” is not good enough. What makes a story ‘newsworthy’? The timeliness is important as well current information or having recently occurred. Think about how the story would be told visually. Would an interview be effective? Is a photo compelling? You have to grab attention in 7 seconds. Ask yourself, ‘what grabs a person’s attention to make them stay with your story?’ In other words, save complicated stories for 60 Minutes.
5. Once you’ve answered the above questions and your story is now newsworthy, you are ready for outreach. Write an attention-grabbing headline for a press release and if you are sending an email … that subject line IS the most important. Always give the most important information at the top of the press release or the top of the email. How many emails do you read all the way through? Most scan.
6. Deadlines are the nemesis of Journalists/Columnists/Editors/Reporters sothey don’t have a lot of time to spend reading long press releases and/or emails. Ask yourself, “can a decision be made about my story in 20 seconds?”Keep your pitch short and to the point.
7. Words and how they are used are everything to writers. There is no excuse for grammar and spelling mistakes. Have you heard of Spell Checkers or Grammarly? Use them or have someone else read what you are writing before sending. Because of all the texting we do, emails are full of abbreviated words. This is not good! Spell it out.
8. Do not use a ‘group’ to send press releases via email or with an ‘undisclosed list” in the TO field. Send it directly or personalize your email automation so that only the person you’re sending it to shows up in the TO field. Know who the Journalists/Columnists/Editors/Reporters work for and what they write about or cover. Sending national news to a reporter who covers local news is a waste of your time and theirs. It will get trashed. Your email should be personalized with the recipient’s name. Always include why your story should interest them in the introductory paragraph. You can also add a short, to the point, bullet list of what they will be getting out of the press release. If you are calling to pitch a story, again make sure you are calling the right person. Pitching a lifestyle story to a political editor is a waste of everyone’s time and quite frankly, insulting to them.
9. Is the traditional press release dead? That all depends on what you’ve discovered about the media contact. Certain media still use them and appreciate ‘the facts’ traditional press releases provide as they move forward with a story. Live by this quote from Nalene de Klerk of Reputation Matters, “Each practitioner will have their own unique way of doing things, whether through press releases, phone calls or social media. Providing the journalist with information in a way that is convenient, and nurturing requires a true understanding of what the journalist needs,” she says.
10. Again, get to know your media. Do they like to be contacted via email? Fax? Phone or direct social media? There are contact buttons on social media accounts now and they are being used. Before you turn your nose up at Fax, know this, who gets an initial fax? The admin or receptionist of a media organization. What do they do with it? They put it on the desk of the recipient. Would you rather be one of 150 emails or front and center on someone’s desk?
For more tips … like 806 of them … download our free ebook that contains 806 PR tips written over 6 years and posted on Twitter by our own Cyndy Hoenig.