Four Atlanta based journalists shared their media knowledge with the area’s PR pros:
Kate Brumback, Reporter, Associated Press
Jim Burress, Senior Reporter, WABE and Contributor, NPR and APM (Marketplace)
Jonathan Serrie, Correspondent, Fox News
Anita Sharpe, Atlanta Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
As a media personality for 17+ years, I enjoy panels like these to learn (and confirm) concepts to pass along to the KEF Media team and the clients we serve. Below are the five media pitching takeaways that stuck out to me from the panel (paraphrased):
- “Why are we hearing about this now?” – Jim Burress on the first thing he’ll hear from a decision maker for APM’s Marketplace when pitching a story idea for air.
- Timing! It matters to hosts/producers/journalists because the media operates within two major categories: News and Everything Else (Evergreen). If your pitch doesn’t fall into the first category, expect it to take a while for coverage to materialize – if ever.
- “Because of staffing, pitch in the middle of the week for weekend coverage” – Kate Brumback
- Staffing! I knew it was an issue in radio and TV, but I didn’t expect to hear that tip come from someone at the AP. Outstanding bit of knowledge. Remember, newsrooms all over are hit with budget/staffing issues so the more you can help the media, the more they will help you (and your client).
- “Start subject lines with my name and an idea of exclusivity” – Jim Burress
- Personalize! I’ve never been a fan of mass blasting, but this point is key because it means you’ve at least done enough research to know who you are pitching and make sure to communicate up front if they are the only outlet you are going after at the moment.
- “Email pitching is best because I can check it at a time convenient for me” – Jonathan Serrie and all panelists agreeing
- Voicemail vortex! When I was in media fulltime, I never checked my voicemail. No time for it. The aforementioned staffing issues makes this even more the case. If you do follow up an email with a call, be prepared to send the email again because as Kate pointed out, “No, I haven’t seen your email” is the answer you’re likely to get if you ask.
- “Social media pitches don’t really work” – All panelists
- Exclusivity! The main point of concern is that if a pitch is made on social, then there’s a good chance others are seeing it and a non-exclusive can kill a story. However, I have found that if you have a good relationship with a member of the media, a direct message pitch can work. But those are private and should not be the lone method of contact.
All of these tips were phenomenal when pitching earned media. In a follow up post, I’ll share more media relations tips that speak to our experiences at KEF.