15 September 2009

How to pitch to media

There's been some discussion on Mumbrella about emailing media releases to journalists. It was prompted by the suggestion of what type and size of files to attach.

Well, here's a tip. Don't email. Just call the journalist. Of course, that depends on whether or not you have a working relationship with them. But, hey, that's what you're supposed to do if your a PR person.

Simply calling a journalist makes it more personal (something we seem to be losing in PR). You can have a chat about the weather, sport, film, and then run the storyline past your contact. You'll at least save yourself the time of having to write the release.

As for attaching files, I wouldn't recommend it. But check with the outlet you're sending to. If in doubt, don't send anything but your words (six paragraphs maximum).

I would think most country publications and radio stations would not enjoy receiving large attachments (the paper at Denmark, WA, sure doesn't). Better to send a simple link to a multi-media rich web site and let the receiver decide what to use.

As an aside, when I was working on the Gold Coast three years ago, ALL media outlets wanted their releases by fax. Strange but true. It may have changed. However, the thinking was they received so many emails, that anyone serious about PR would go to the trouble of faxing.

I couldn’t understand that logic, though, as you can fax from a computer.

1 comment:

Craig Pearce said...

Not so sure about the phone call to media, Greg. Certainly, it depends on the journo and issue, but having worked in tech-focused agencies and others to boot, if you are looking for a generalisation I think email is the default for initial contact.

This is a generalisation, of course, but lots of journos find the phone contact too tiresome. IT means they can't deal with the issue in their own time as the caller is imposing their own schedule on them.

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.