Seattle Journalists Offer Insights; Pitching Advice at Media Roundtable

January 20, 2016

Matt Allinson Bio Pic

by Matt Allinson – Media Relations Manager, International Markets

Seven superb Seattle journalists assembled downtown on a gray December day for Business Wire Seattle’s media “speed dating” event. The event provided an opportunity for those who work with the media and/or who are interested in the media to have small group discussions with the journalists who matter to them most. The goal, as always, was to foster education and understanding between the media and PR/IR community (as well as with the public at large).

Media at Event

From L to R: Garrett Rudolph (Editor – Marijuana Venture Magazine); Taylor Soper (Reporter – Geekwire.com); Michelle Flandreau (Producer – KING5); Lauren Mang (Digital Editor – Seattle Magazine); Roger Nyhus (Moderator – President & CEO of Nyhus Communications); Sara Lerner (Reporter – KIRO Radio); Ashley Stewart (Reporter – Puget Sound Business Journal); Rachel Lerman (Reporter – The Seattle Times)

The journalists varied widely in terms of the media they work for, the industries and companies they cover, and the way they do their jobs. We had a marijuana industry magazine editor; a tech reporter for a start-up; a long time public radio reporter who recently switched to commercial radio; a television producer; a digital editor; a finance reporter; and a tech reporter from the state’s biggest paper.

The journalists offered many excellent tips for interacting with media and pitching stories. Here are some you should remember:

  • Press releases are great … particularly those that include multimedia … but a personalized email pitch or a follow-up call that comes with it can make a big difference.
  • Know who you’re pitching and what they write … take the time to form a relationship if you want the reporter to cover you now or in the future.
  • Taylor Soper of Geekwire.com pulls two to three stories a week from Twitter. It’s increasingly becoming one of his favorite ways to find story ideas.
  • Radio interviews … Sara Lerner of KIRO Radio always prefers an in-studio interview, but recognizes that short notice can make that difficult. A great alternative, she says, is to use Skype, because you don’t need a microphone and it resolves the problem of cell phone quality and the scarcity of landlines.
  • If you live in a marijuana-friendly state, take note of the publications focusing on that industry. Marijuana Venture Magazine editor Garrett Rudolph said his magazine started as a 8-page black and white publication in the spring of 2014 and is now a 120+ page glossy.
  • How does the Seattle Times‘ tech reporter Rachel Lerman find stories? For one, she scans Business Wire’s daily PressPass feed. She also has various alerts set up on all the companies that she covers.Rachel
  • A major pet peeve amongst several of the journalists in attendance was lack of an available contact. Too many times, they say, have they received an interesting press release only to call the contact number on the bottom and get no answer. Lack of availability will often lead to a lack of coverage.
  • One way to ensure reporters always have access to additional information, images and company contacts is to include a link to your organization’s online newsroom. These sites are crucial for reporters, as well as analysts and other decision makers when looking for more information about your brand.

For more tips and and to better understand the tools journalists are currently using, download the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey.

Click here to share these media relations tips on Twitter:  http://ctt.ec/d5c3w

 


DC-Area Tech Journalists Offer Pitching Tips

October 1, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

Business Wire/DC hosted a “Meet the Technology Media” Event at Marriott Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia on Wednesday, September 29th.  The panel discussion, moderated by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, featured five technology journalists from some of the area’s top media outlets:

About 120 public relations and communications professionals were in attendance to learn how to increase your organization’s chances of securing media coverage. Attendees joined in the conversation during a question and answer section and also by live tweeting the event using the #BWEvents hash tag.

Here are some of the key points from the panel discussion:

  1. Headlines are important. Nick Wakeman said to think about your press release headline as a headline in a newspaper. Just as media outlets compete for readers at the newsstand, public relations professionals must compete for the attention of journalists in their inbox. The headline should tell reporters why they should care. For The Hill, you should have a clear link to politics or policy issues, said Gautham Nagesh.
  2. Include your organization in the e-mail subject. Paul Sherman noted that e-mail subjects are key in a mobile environment. Rob Pegoraro added that including a client and product name in the e-mail subject makes it easier for him to find the message later on.
  3. Know who you’re pitching. Every journalist has his or her own preferences when it comes to being pitched. Paul Sherman noted that he prefers texts over voicemails. Nick Wakeman likes when you follow up your e-mail with a phone call. There is no secret formula to media relations. You just need to do your homework.
  4. Consider your audience. Bill Flook pointed out that the Washington Business Journal reaches two different audiences through its online and print editions. Think about how your story fits in and remember that exclusivity matters for print while immediacy is more important for the web.
  5. Go beyond the pitch. According to Gautham Nagesh, Twitter can be an effective way to generate interest. If his followers are interested in your message, he will be more inclined to pay attention. Rob Pegoraro noted that commenting on articles online is a great way to provide information that was not included in the story. Bill Flook suggests setting up informational interviews with your CEO. Often, meetings like these can result in story ideas.

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.


Land Your Features Story in the New York Post

August 18, 2010

Tips from Daily Features Editor Mackenzie Dawson

by Nikelle Feimster, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York

Mackenzie Dawson

Mackenzie Dawson, Daily Features Editor, New York Post

I recently had a chance to talk with Mackenzie Dawson, Daily Features Editor of the New York Post. Having worked in the PR industry, Dawson fully understands the challenges publicists face when it comes to working with the media. She has offered up some great tips on public relations best practices and shares some essential tactics to use in your next media relations campaign.

According to Dawson, developing relationships with reporters is one of the most important strategies in public relations. “With publicists, it should really be about targeted relationship building instead of cold calling. My ideal publicist is one who has really gotten to know me over time and has a good idea of the kind of news I cover.”  Dawson says the best way to start building a relationship is to send good, thoughtful pitches that are cleverly written and concise. Once a relationship has developed, a trust factor can be built up and she will respond favorably to your pitches.

“A good publicist might send me a pitch six times a year instead of every week, but their batting average is higher,” Dawson continues. “They’re not sending me stories that are not relevant to what I cover.” She covers human interest stories, so sending a business story is definitely not going to work. It is also not a very good idea to pitch a story that has already been covered in another publication.

Dawson’s experience in the PR world has taught her a lot about the “dual client system.” Public relations practitioners have their clients they have to please, as well as the journalists they are trying to woo. When she worked in public relations, one of the things that bothered her the most was when her manager would always tell her to make as many phone calls to as many different media outlets as possible. Now that Dawson is on the other side of the fence, she realizes that technique just doesn’t work; all you end up doing is frustrating the journalists. Be sure to put more emphasis on quality, not quantity.

To put it briefly, Dawson compares working with the media to dating. She’s like the person you are trying to date; if you are interesting, then she’ll get back to you!


For more tips on how to put together a great feature news story, check out the Feature Writing Tips at BusinessWire.com.


The Power Of The Headline Compels You

March 17, 2010

Christine Kent gives some great examples of short but intriguing subject lines from e-mail pitches in “E-mail subject lines in 8 words or less,” an item in Ragan’s PR Daily.

Says Kent, “Given the attention spans of your media targets (right up there with gnats), and the tidal waves of e-mail that come flooding into reporter mailboxes, the onus is on you to be brief and clever.”

Click through to see the interesting, snappy, funny pitches your peers in PR are coming up with.  Who could resist a line like “Colorado:  Help bring a cow into the world” (crafted by Praco PR for the Colorado Tourism Office)?


Florida PR Pros: How To Get On “The Business Show”

February 9, 2010
Getting a glimpse behind the wizard’s curtain can often unlock the mystery of their magical success.  In this case the wizard is Niala Boodhoo, multimedia business reporter and host of the Miami Herald‘s “The Business Show,” a weekly web show on miamiherald.com
Niala Boodhoo

Niala Boodhoo, host of the Miami Herald's "The Business Show"

Pilar Portela, media relations supervisor for Business Wire/Miami met with Boodhoo this week.  She took a tour of the studio, watched a live taping and sat down with the host for a discussion on how she finds her topics and keeps her show
fresh.   Here are a few other tips from the meeting you might find helpful.

  • Niala prefers to be pitched by email at nboodhoo@miamiherald.com or pitched over Twitter @nialaboodhoo . Do Not Call Her.
  • Keep your pitches related to current affairs and how they impact small businesses and their owners across South Florida.
  • Segments typically run about three minutes, so make certain your clients can get their points across concisely.
  • Niala encourages submission of  b-roll footage and static images,  and they will consider them for use on the show.
  • The paper recently launched “The Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.”  Submit your recent business plan for consideration.  Your plan must be less than a year old.  Winners are highlighted on the web show and in the print publication.
  • New shows hit miamiherald.com every Monday and are recorded on Thursdays.

Consumer & Lifestyle Media Panel Recap

November 6, 2007

We recently hosted a live media panel in New York for PR professionals lBusiness Wire Featuresooking to connect with high-profile consumer and lifestyle editors in the industry. Listen to the archived event and find out the latest on what top consumer media editors are covering

The panelists included Darcy Jacobs, articles editor, Family Circle; Kristine Kennedy, east coast editor, Better Homes and Gardens; Susan Avery, senior editor, Grandparents.com; Jenifer Braun, weekend entertainment and consumer lifestyle editor, The Star-Ledger; Sharon King Hoge, editor, Verdant; and Tracy Saelinger, lifestyle editor, Every Day with Rachael Ray.

The event covered an array of topics that proved to be insightful and very candid. The panelists addressed some of their own personal stories and offered details on how they prepare for upcoming sections, the latest trends they are monitoring and tips on how to pitch a story for better placement.

PR Week also covered the event (post one) (post two) and offered some handy tips discussed by the panelists.


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