During the economic downturn, many media outlets downsized, moving their publications to online exclusively and laying off staff. More often than not, only a handful of journalists—sometimes only one or two—were left to produce content for an entire publication (a job previously occupied by dozens of staff members). In addition, as digital marketing continues to explode across social me

ia platforms, sending a press release and then calling to follow up and pitch the story is no longer the best
strategy.

According to a Cision report, Twitter is now considered the most-effective channel for conducting media relations research and is the preferred social platform for almost 40% of journalists. They are also using Periscope as their number one platform due to its ability to broadcast live video to their Twitter clients with one click. The Cision report also says:

  • Nearly 80% of journalists want the pitch tailored to their coverage area
  • Almost 8 out of 10 suggest you research and understand their media outlet
  • Over 40% expect you to provide information and expert sources
  • 35% suggest respecting their “pitching” preferences
  • Just over 25% would like their stories shared on social media
  • One quarter insist on you being available on request

In this new environment, how can you get journalists’ attention and garner quality coverage for your clients?

Here are three tips to keep in mind the next time you are pitching a story or initiating a relationship with key media.

Tip #1 – Research, Read, and Think

Many PR professionals don’t bother to research the media contact they are pitching before reaching out. This is a sure-fire way to make sure a journalist immediately discards your pitch. Before sending your email pitch or making the first phone call, read your contact’s previous articles, understand their beat(s), and ask yourself “why would they be interested in my story?” Personalizing your outreach directly to the journalist will let them know that you are knowledgeable about them, the topics covered in their publication, and why your story will resonate with their readers.

Tip #2 – Become a Master Resource—Without Attribution

Journalists are busy covering multiple beats, and because there are fewer of them, they are overwhelmed by pitches every day. You are more likely to ignite their interest and build lasting relationships with them if you preemptively answer all their questions before they ask. Make sure you provide them with a range of data: any/all background information, statistics, or research that will further explain and support your story, the names of the spokespeople/sources they can interview, direct quotes they can use, etc. They will appreciate your thoroughness and may even begin to turn to you as a trusted resource if they are seeking story ideas or sources for a story they are writing. If you are willing to give background, expertise, and other relevant information, without attribution (being credited), you will build trust.

Tip #3 – Don’t Cave in to Trends & Jargon

While it is extremely important to ensure your pitch and story angles are newsworthy and timely, journalists are often turned-off when PR pros tout clichés, jargon and overused lingo. It is a big pet peeve for journalists, and may result in their ignoring you even if your story/angle is a good one. Approaching journalists from a direct, honest and creative place will keep you one step ahead of the competition.

Have you built successful relationships with journalists who cover healthcare? Share your tips!