This week, my friend Hope Salley of eNR Services is providing a recap local media pitching tips from a PRSA event in Connecticut. The event was hosted by the PRSA -Westchester County and Fairfield County Chapter. The guest speakers were Allan Drury, business reporter/editor with the Journal News (Gannett-Westchester and Rockland Counties), and Jim Zebora, business editor with Hearst CT Newspapers (Connecticut Post, Advocate). Thanks for the tips Hope! – Jack
First and foremost, Allan Drury said that the most important thing a person pitching to the media should do is – do their homework! As quoted by Drury, “Know your reporter. Look at the past six months to see what kind of articles that reporter likes covering. Don’t look at just the past week.” This solidifies why the MatchPoint application is so important to our clients. Drury said it is very important to target the right media.
Below are a few dos and don’ts explained both by Allan Drury and Jim Zebora:
- Keep headlines short and concise. Reporters want to see what the news is right away.
- The best time of day to reach a reporter is in the morning or anytime between noon and 2 p.m. The afternoon hours are usually a “sprint to the finish” time for most reporters and editors.
- The best way to reach most reporters is via email.
- After sending a press release, follow up with a phone call to the reporter a few days later.
- Don’t harass reporters. Continuing to call them or emailing them is a sure turn-off.
- Don’t send irrelevant stories. Only pitch stories that have merit and offer legitimate news.
Drury said it is important to include statistical information and research in press releases that offer substantiality to the story. This data backs up the focus of the release, and makes it a lot easier for the journalist (less work they have to do). Drury said press releases without data tend to be “fluffy features.” When it comes to business stories, Zebora conveyed that the reporters at the Hearst CT Newspapers look at mom-and-pop businesses the same as national businesses, meaning small businesses have pertinent, legitimate news just as much as larger corporations. In fact, it is the local businesses – affecting the local community – that journalists are more interested in covering.