MINNEAPOLIS: Newsroom 2012: Best Practices for Engaging the Media

by Jane Cracraft, Senior Client Services Representative
Business Wire/Minneapolis
Jane Cracraft

Jane Cracraft

Business Wire Minneapolis’ Meet the Media event in downtown Minneapolis was at full capacity with IR and PR professionals from around the region.

The panel consisted of David Brauer, of MinnPost; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Todd Stone, of the Star Tribune; Dirk DeYoung, of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; and Michelle Cortez, of Bloomberg. The quintet discussed many topics, and the meeting was very capably moderated by Brad Allen, longtime IR exec, journalist, university adjunct instructor and consultant.

(l-r) Brad Allen, moderator; Julio Ojeda-Zapato, Pioneer Press; Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal; Todd Stone, Star Tribune; David Brauer, MinnPost; Michelle Cortez, Bloomberg

The event focused on how to best pitch your company’s story and reporters’ increasing use of social media such as Twitter for story leads. In fact, Twitter was mentioned far more than any other social media topic.

Below are a few tips captured from the event:

Pitching:

  • Introduce yourself to reporters before making your pitch by writing a personal note.
  • Schedule a meeting with the reporter; it is their job to know their sources.
  • Cultivate and nurture those media relationships.
  • Do not pitch to a reporter without knowing his/her beat.
  • Well-crafted pitches are crucial: the size of a company is less important than the quality of the pitch.
  • The pitch should be concise and strong. Brevity is encouraged.
  • Write in plain English. Avoid overuse of acronyms.
  • Be specific. Explain what is new and why it matters.
  • It is impossible to send a beat reporter a timely copy of a press release you have already issued via any traditional source. They have it; they measure in seconds.
  • Include more multimedia! This is one of the first things they look for.
  • Don’t get discouraged if they don’t pick up your story; try again. They want news. Keep in mind the reduced staff in most newsrooms.
  • For public companies: noteworthy pitches are those that effect the movement of money.

 Twitter:

  • Twitter enforces brevity, which is a good thing.
  • Twitter can be useful for finding sources for stories.
  • Twitter pitches via “direct message” are increasingly popular, and welcome (again, brevity is key, and well-crafted messages are crucial).
  • A wise PR person will form a Twitter relationship with key reporters.
  • Twitter is a perfect place to tease a story, but be careful not to expose baseline reporting.

Earnings:

  • Earnings: try to release other info around the time you release your earnings. It will make your earnings more noteworthy to those watching your company or industry.
  • Earnings: growth is important. Put that at the top.
  • Provide numbers of revenue and employees.
  • While full earnings are often geared toward analyst audiences, your earnings releases will catch journalists’ eyes more readily if the stock price is dramatically affected or other noteworthy changes are announced.

Social media is ever in flux and you might feel like you need to be on your toes all the time. You do! The Twin Cities scene is a highly literate and educated market with many great publications; these factors make for one of the healthiest media markets in the nation. PR and IR folks can form a relationship or trust with a reporter via social media. If you use it wisely it can help you as a PR person.

Always remember, stories with multimedia get more traffic.

For more in-depth discussion of the “big 3” social media sites – Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook – check out this Business Wired post by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist.

To follow our panelists and moderator on Twitter:

David Brauer: @dbrauer

Julio Ojeda-Zapato: @ojezap

Todd Stone: @StribBizEditor

Dirk Deyoung: @ddeyoung

Michelle Fay Cortez: @FayCortez

Brad Allen: @Brad_D_Allen

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