Understanding what reporters want and expect from your business can seem like an impossible task. Too many people spend hours on public relations writing dozens of press releases without seeing any results. If your business is failing at public and media relations, it is time to step back and think about what the media expects or wants to see from your business and your PR team.
Realize Their Time is Precious
At the most basic level, it is important to realize that reporters are busy people who are juggling many different tasks at once, all while trying to make sure they don’t miss the next big story. One of their biggest pet peeves is people who waste their time or fail to realize how precious their time is. They receive hundreds of pitches and story ideas a day, and can only follow up on a small portion of them. If they do not express interest in your story, don’t try to waste their time fighting with them over the value of their story.
Help Them With the Legwork
If you want to truly impress potential media contacts, you should make your pitch as effortless as possible for them. Keep the pitch short, simple and to the point. Offer enough details for them to get a complete picture of the story, but not so much that they want to throw away your press release or story idea without looking at it. The point is not to do their work for them, but to make it as easy as possible for them to do their work. With hundreds of ideas to choose from, reporters will typically choose the pitches that are complete and straightforward, since they are a relatively safe bet in terms of making an effective use of their time. You want to make their job as easy as possible without actually going as far as writing the story for them. A pitch that is creative and effective is one of the best ways to grab their attention.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
If you write dozens of press releases and fail to receive interest in any of them it may be time to rethink your approach. Many people are convinced that writing and sending out more press releases is the answer to a lack of responses and interest. This could not be further from the truth. If you are not getting any positive feedback from any of your press releases or pitches, then sending more is not the answer and will only serve to irritate the person you are trying to pitch. They will eventually want to stop paying attention to anything you have to say because they will assume that most of it is useless or worthless information.
If you want to make sure that your pitches do not wind up in the trash, be sure to send only the best press releases and story pitches. By focusing on quality rather than quantity they will get to associate your name and your business with high quality and interesting content. In short, if they see that you’ve sent something, they will be bound to at least give it a glance. It might take longer to get a response initially, but the effort will pay off when they start to pay more attention to what you have to say. Sending out too many press releases, giving too many pitches, or making too many cold calls will only serve to irritate potential contacts, especially if you have nothing worthwhile to say. Keeping their needs in mind and valuing their time will go a long way toward fostering strong relationships with potential media contacts.