Philadelphia Media Members and Communication Professionals Provide Practical Tips for Media Relations

May 27, 2010

On Wednesday, May 12th, Business Wire Philadelphia hosted “Media Relations Boot Camp,” a breakfast and panel discussion about media relations best practices.  The event, held at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, brought over 50 PR practitioners, industry professionals and business executives looking to learn from leaders in the media and communications industries.

Moderator Michael Smith, LaSalle University

The panel discussion was moderated by Michael Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication at La Salle University and featured the following speakers:

Below are some of the key points from each of our panelists:

Mike Armstong, Philadelphia Inquirer

  • When asked what he looks for in a story, Mike said “the key word is interesting.  If you’re going to reach out to the media, it better be interesting and it better be important.”  He also added that pitches should be short, to the point and preferably delivered by e-mail – not over the phone or via fax.
  • If you’re going to call Mike at the Inquirer, he suggests doing your research.  Flowery language doesn’t work for him.  A better approach is to read his articles and find a connection between your pitch and what he covers.  He added that “the brutal truth is that just because you exist, doesn’t mean you’re a story.”  To be successful, organizations need to recognize trends and find how you fit into these bigger stories.
  • Despite being the editor for the PhillyInc Blog, Mike does not heavily rely on social media for news tips.  There is no must-read blog for him at the moment.  Although he keeps a list of blogs to follow, he only checks them about once a month.

Bernard Dagenais, Philadelphia Business Journal

  • For Bernie and the Philadelphia Business Journal, a good story is about a lot of money and/or a lot of jobs.  Journalists bring their independent judgment to the newsroom when it comes to determining whether or not something is newsworthy, but for the most part a good story is one that will be interesting to the entire business community – not just your specific industry.
  • When sending an e-mail to an editor or reporter, the subject line is very important.  It is a PR professional’s job to get the attention of the media and a subject line is one way to do that.  If a story is really good, it is not a bad idea to call the reporter and resend the e-mail once you’re on the phone so the reporter doesn’t have to search for what you’re talking about.  When calling Bernie with a pitch, a fact-driven approach works best.  He wants to get his job done as efficiently and effectively as possible so provide the information he needs up front.
  • Make sure you are sending quality e-mails when you contact reporters.  Bernie actually set up a junk filter for people who have sent too many useless e-mails in the past.  According to Bernie, “why would I want to contact them?  They don’t get what it is that we do.”

Alex Hillman, DangerouslyAwesome.com and Indy Hall

  • Organizations should remember that sometimes less is more.  Not everything an organization does is newsworthy so there is no reason to constantly broadcast announcements if they are not important.  “If everything is a hot story, then nothing is a hot story,” he said.  “Shut up and listen before you shout and hope someone listens.”
  • Alex referenced Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, encouraging the audience to do something interesting and to be remarkable.  “Be worth remarking about.  You’ll keep hitting the same walls [with the media] if you continue to do the same thing.”
  • When it comes to using social media and new technology, he recommends taking a quality over quantity approach.  Consistently putting out quality posts and being thoughtful about your social media strategy is more effective than high volume.  Social media tools like blogs allow people to express judgment in what they are sharing, and organizations should recognize this important aspect when creating content.  In regards to negative comments on blogs, Alex recommends not deleting them but instead viewing them as an opportunity to engage.

Panelist Michael Wood, PPL Corporation

Michael Wood, PPL Corporation

  • Although more and more organizations are incorporating social media into their communication strategies, it is still important to use outlets like the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Business Journal.  “You need to consider all media to reach your audience.  You need to integrate your message into a number of different vehicles and traditional media is part of that plan,” he said.
  • According to Michael, “credibility means everything to someone working in media relations.”  Know what makes a good story for the media outlet you are pitching and know what information they need to do their job.  Be selective when reaching out to the media so they are more likely to pay attention when you pitch.
  • When writing a press release, make it more about the story and less about the organization.  Revise your headline to be about the current trend you want to discuss and have your company serve as one of several sources within the release.

Local Business Wire offices host dozens of events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

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Upcoming Business Wire Events – May 6 Edition

May 6, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

How to Add Video into Marketing, PR and Social Media Programs to Increase Lead Conversion

Hosted by Business Wire Silicon Valley

Business Wire Silicon Valley partners with MEDIAmobz & Visible Gains to host this breakfast and panel discussion on using video to engage and convert leads.  Panelists Linda Crowe, Marketing Consultant, Former Group Manager, Media & Production, Sun Microsystems; Dos Dosanjh, WW Customer Solutions Manager, Marketing, Cisco Digital Media Creative Services, Cisco; Jay Durgan, Head of Business Development, MEDIAmobz; Cliff Pollan, Co-Founder & CEO, VisibleGains; and Mark Rotblat, VP, Business Development, Tube Mogul discuss how to integrate video across marketing channels to increase awareness, lead generation and conversion. The panel will give tips and tricks for engaging video for lead general, as well as share mistakes to avoid. This event is free for all attendees.

Visit the BW Events Page to see a video preview of this event.

Tuesday, May 11 at 8:30 am PST
TechMart Networking Meeting Center
5201 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054
To register: RSVP to Sandy Donnelly at 415-986-4422 x561 or email sandy.donnelly@businesswire.com by May 7

Social Media ROI: Being Seen is Not Enough

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland [Cincinnati Event]

Your organization has started blogging, tweeting and updating Facebook, but is it working? Like many communicators, you may be unsure how to quantify the success of your social media efforts. Join Business Wire Cleveland and a panel of experts for a discussion on social media ROI measurement. Michael DeAloia of Tech Czar will moderate the panel, which also include Krisa Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital, Daniel Lally, VP, Pinger PR at Powers Agency and James Pilcher, Business Projects Reporter at The Cincinnati Enquirer. The panel will give advice on setting goals for your social media campaign and arm you with the tools you need to generate both quantitative and qualitative results. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m. ET
The Phoenix – Cincinnati Room
812 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
To register: RSVP to Melissa Chambers at 800.769.0220 or email melissa.chambers@businesswire.com by May 5

Media Relations Boot Camp

Hosted by Business Wire Philadelphia

Join Business Wire Philadelphia and a panel of media relations experts for a discussion on getting your news heard over the background noise. Learn about the numerous platforms in today’s communications landscape to reach the media, industry associates, investors & the public. Michael Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication at La Salle University will moderate the panel, which includes Bernard Dagenais, Editor, Philadelphia Business Journal; Mike Armstrong, Business Columnist, PhillyInc Blog Editor, Co-Host of Philadelphia Business Today, Philadelphia Inquirer; Michael Wood, Sr. Manager, Communications, PECO; and Alex Hillman, social technology and community developer, co-founder of IndyHall. The panel will discuss tactics for determining which platforms are best for which audiences, pitching those audiences, the differences between social, mobile and traditional media platforms, and how to use each correctly. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m. EDT
University City Science Center
Conference Room Fuller A&B, 3711 Market Street, Ste 800, Philadelphia, PA 19104
To register: RSVP to Kate Carr at 610.617.9560 or email kate.carr@businesswire.com

Best Practices for Working with Journalists in an Ever-Changing Media Landscape

Hosted by Business Wire Minneapolis

Join Business Wire Minneapolis & NIRI Twin Cities for this breakfast and a panel discussion with area journalists. Panelists Brad Allen of MinnPost, Dirk DeYoung of The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; Annie Baxter of MPR, Jason DeRusha of WCCO-TV and Ann Harrington of The Pioneer Press discuss best practices for media relations professionals in today’s changing media landscape. This event is free for Business Wire and NIRI members and $25 for non-members.

Thursday, May 27 at 8:00 a.m. CT
Graves 601 Hotel
601 1st Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55403
To register: RSVP to Jane Cracraft at 612.376.7979 or email jane.cracraft@businesswire.com by May 14

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


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