News and Pitching: Clearing Through the Clutter

Most of my days start with coffee, Twitter and Google Trends. I’m certain I’m not alone here- especially for all the PR and marketing folks out there. I wanted to address how we gather our news, where we are getting it and how we we are using it for our public relations role.

Most of us know how to filter through the clutter now. However, are you gathering your news from a variety of sources? At a recent PRSA luncheon, I heard CBS news correspondent, Bob Orr, speak on the importance of varying your news sources. He emphasized the value of gathering news from all outlets, and a variety of sources. Don’t just take one source’s word for it; pull together your own conclusions based on all the facts (and opinions) available. I couldn’t agree more with Bob.

After hearing Bob’s opinion on news sources, I’ve been thinking about how I pitch the media. Consider if, as a public relations pro, you are strategic with your media pitches. Do you do your homework and find the reporter who covers the beat that relates to your story? Do you research that reporter and discover how they want to be pitched (e-mail, phone, Twitter, etc.)? Are you following all relevant reporters on Twitter; and do you regularly engage with them?

Personally, I understand that maintaining media relationships can be forgotten or even “just postponed.” In a busy workday, something that does not have a deadline, like checking in with a reporter on Twitter, can seem unimportant. However, the benefit of keeping these connections is significant for your clients and your campaigns. I urge all public relations pros to make the extra effort to keep in contact with your media connections- even if you have to give yourself a deadline for it each week.

I was also thinking about the issue of finding the right outlet to pitch your story or client. So, if you are regularly connecting with the reporters that cover relevant beats for your needs, are they coming to you when they need a source? Of course, that would be ideal. However, what other ways do you find the reporter who needs you? Resources like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) are excellent for connecting journalists with the sources/experts they need. Outside of this, what else can we be doing? In today’s fast-paced, social media-obsessed culture, what is the best way to cut through the clutter and get your client that PR win?

This month, I challenge you to be aware of a few “common” PR tasks:

  • Gather your news from a variety of sources and draw your own conclusions.
  • Maintain consistent relationships with your media outlets.
  • Creatively cut through the clutter to get your message to the appropriate outlets.

Best of luck- I hope these reminders will make us all better PR pros.

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