Business Wire LA hosted a “Meet the Media” breakfast and panel discussion titled “How to Effectively Communicate Your Message” on Thursday, April 15. Local media members shared tips on effectively pitching news media and strategies for forming relationships with media and answered questions from the audience of LA area communicators.
Noemi Pollack (far R), Founder & CEO of Pollack PR, moderated the panel (L-R), which also included:
- Russ Britt, LA Bureau Chief, MarketWatch/Dow Jones
- Alberto Mendez, Assignment Editor, KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV
- Eddie Chan, West Coast Financial Editor, Thomson Reuters
- Kevin Davis, COO, TheWrap.com
Here are a few soundbites from the panel:
“Hate the Hard Sell”
“Substance Over Style”
“Mobile a Priority”
Download a full audio recording of this event here or check out these pitching tips from the panelists:
- Be aware of what’s going on in the world & what is news right now.
- Be aware of who you’re pitching to & understand when it’s appropriate to pitch. If it’s MarketWatch or Dow Jones, for example, don’t send something or try to contact them around market closing. It’s the worst possible time for them. However, some outlets, such as local news channels, are 24 hours. There is always someone on the assignment desk, news never stops for them. It never hurts to pitch the assignment desk. If it’s relevant, it will make it to the right reporter.
- Panelists agree that double-pitching (sending a pitch to more than one reporter at the same publication) is okay, although it’s nice to ask if they would mind if you send your story along to someone else. Oftentimes, they will even refer you to someone who might be more interested.
- Journalists still value accessibility, objectivity, timeliness & exclusivity greatly. Keep this in mind when pitching. Make sure to provide contact information, especially an email and cell phone, on your pitch or press release so you are reachable if the journalist needs to get in touch.
- Although many journalists now embrace pitching through social media and find Facebook in particular to be a valuable source network, email is still the most reliable and easiest way to reach them.
- In an email pitch, the subject line is the most important part. It needs to be straightforward & compelling enough to get them to open the email. Often, it’s actually only the first part of the subject line because the email program will cut it off.
- A good pitch is always substance over style. Lots of exclamation points in your pitch does not make it more compelling.
- Mobile is very important right now for every news outlet in all formats. It’s very important to be able to access news over mobile.
- When pitching stories at major conferences and events, such as CES or NAB, it’s a good idea to find out who at the publication will be covering the event and get in touch ahead of time.
- When emailing pitches, NEVER attach ANYTHING. This includes having your logo in your email signature. With many email programs, this comes across as an attachment & will get your email filtered into spam.
- It’s always a good idea to offer up an expert or spokesperson, especially one that isn’t quoted all the time in that publication or one that is local so they’re accessible (it’s often hard for west coast based reporters to contact east coast based experts). It’s a good idea to provide the reporter with the expert’s bio to prove his or her credibility.
Local Business Wire offices host several 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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