Communicating and working with the press changed drastically in the digital age. As a result, PR agencies and content marketing agencies have had to adapt the 24-hour news cycle no longer exists. Often, during initial conversations with potential clients,’ we often get this question: what is media relations? Public relations is media relations: the systematic targeted outreach process to magazines, blogs, newspaper, television, website, radio, and podcast journalists with story ideas, angles, and interviews opportunities for our clients. The objective of media outreach is to secure valuable and positive media and news coverage for your client’s target audience. This tactic is very similar to content marketing.
Journalists are inundated with media requests, “pitches” by hundreds of PR and content marketing specialists and amateurs alike on an hourly basis. For these, and any number of other reasons, the journalist, blogger, or influencer are not always thrilled to hear from a PR professional or content marketer about a client’s press release, event, a pitch angle or bylined article.
To maximize Dreamweaver Brand Communication’s media outreach and public relations success, we are sharing our top 5 Dos and Don’ts’s our agency adheres to before any media outreach campaigns begin.
DO the background research.
Before contacting any journalist, blogger, or influencer, the DBC PR and B2B and B2C content marketing team meet and then conducts thorough research on what they have reported on or written about recently. This provides valuable insight into their journalistic, professional, personal interests and informs the PR and content marketing specialists of any topics or trends they have already covered. DBC’s PR and content marketing experts also follow target journalists, bloggers, and influencers on social media providing us with that extra level of detail that can make or break a placement. Typically, their social media contains articles they have either authored or about topics that they enjoy. Nothing is more embarrassing to receive the dreaded email “I just wrote about that in last month’s issue or even worse, you have the target media professional on the phone, and they say “That is not something I would write about.” Ouch! It does not look good for you as a PR specialist and does not look good for your agency. Every PR specialist has a professional responsibility not only monitor but to regularly read the news in the outlets where your clients want placements and then using your research, cater to the journalist’s preferences and needs.
DON’T’ email the incorrect media contact.
There is no swifter way to indicate a PR specialist or content marketer has not taken the time to research or read the publication or is mass pitching from a media list than sending an email pitch to the wrong contact (or even worse to several media contacts at different publications on the same email). For example, if we send a pitch about a tech company to to hospitality marketing reporter, most likely we will never hear back. At Dreamweaver and many other agencies, there is a golden rule: never email an Editor or Editor-In-Chief (they are not the ones who make final editorial decisions they have staff on the payroll to do that.) That is not to say senior-level PR professionals, Content Marketing Manager or a Director of Public Relations won’t email an editor, typically leave them off your pitch list. Cynthia Srednikci, CEO & CMO of Dreamweaver Brand Communications says “Spray and pray pitching never works and is disrespectful to anyone who works at a media outlet. Your agency should already have existing media contacts in that area but if not, do your homework and make sure your list is tidy, current, and relevant.”
DO clear and brief email outreach.
While public relations and content marketing continuously evolves, journalists have had to evolve with the industry. While journalists have always been on deadline, they now only have milliseconds to scan the thousands of emails. At Dreamweaver, our content marketing and PR approach is strategic and bespoke. With over 15 years of experience, our bespoke marketing and media approach respects the journalists’ time. We ensure that the critical, newsworthy aspects of our media pitches first are in a strategic location within the email. Foremost, we have the utmost respect for journalists and are direct and specific about our requests. (by-lined article placement, television interview, of event attendance. Our content marketing team develops memorable, even snazzy subject lines to get the journalist’s attention breaking through the reporter’s email clutter.
DON’T email paragraphs of information during initial communication.
Never send a journalist, blogger, or editor every detail of a client’s announcement, product launch, or event information during the initial outreach stage. Our experienced content marketing and public relations team baits the journalist, editor, blogger or influencer, with the essential, newsworthy basics. If the media contact is interested, our team then shares important strategic information in the following email or phone correspondence. However, it takes an experienced PR or content marketing professional not to bury the hook.
Do send strategic story ideas or market experts to build on current news and trends.
When breaking news hits (the latest IPO, celebrity or influencer sighting, a significant court ruling) journalists and bloggers often report on it while it is fresh and hot. If a Dreamweaver Brand Communication’s client is an expert and can provide valuable insight on the issue at hand, we place them with journalists as a credible available expert resource to provide commentary. This strategic tactic serves another purpose, it positions Dreamweaver Brand Communications as credible expert PR and content marketing practitioners but more importantly positions our clients as thought and industry leaders.