I recently came across this article written by a journalist explaining how PR really works.
Although I agree with many of the points, there are some that were off-base. Nonetheless, it was a powerful article. You can read the article here.
The author points out tips to the reader about how to pitch the media and explained this big secret PR specialists and the media share. Basically, they hold the power to promoting your business and it's up to them whether or not your story gets picked up. The truth behind it, is most PR specialists come from the media. They know what interested them when they were reporters and that's what makes them successful in the PR industry.
Here's the deal: Yes, there is a certain way to angle your stories to get the media interested. And yes, the way newsrooms operate isn't exactly how you picture. But, there is one part of the article that couldn't be more wrong--she says the "press release is dead." If that were the case, then why do amazingly successful PR firms still use them? I think she meant to say that some press releases are dead and how you send them has changed. But, journalists, writers, producers and reporters alike still appreciate getting a very interesting story just handed to them in their inbox. And when there is an image or special media kit attached, all the better. They are incredibly busy and they don't have the time to hunt down all the resources they need to put the story together with a tight deadline. There's just a way to pitch and send your press release in this ever-evolving world of technology. When the media receives literally hundreds of releases a day, what makes them want to open yours? Now that's where the secret lies--and one we know all about.
I did appreciate, however, where the author points out to not blame or fire your PR firm when your story doesn't get picked up. That just means it's time to go back to the drawing board and pitch a story with a different angle and one that each individual member of the media appreciates. Case in point: I was the PR Manager at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park in downtown Denver. Why would I pitch the opening of a new water slide to the politics editor at The Denver Post? They have no interest in that story. But, pitching it to the business reporter or the features editor is what made the most sense--and I managed to get a lot of press off the story by knowing who to pitch and how to pitch it. It's important to have contacts in the media and know each reporter or producer's specialty or area of interest.
At the end of the article, it explains how the media really is built up of people just like the rest of us--they're not scary or unapproachable. They're just people who are doing their jobs. Get to know them--follow them on Facebook or Twitter---when you work with them on a story, it's okay to talk to them and ask how their day is going. When you turn off that infomercial front of constantly pitching and pitching and pitching, they'll come to respect and get to know you.
Thanks for reading!
~Erica Boniface, owner/operator of Colorado Media Network
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