Last month, Slack announced the ability to DM anyone outside your company. Last month, Clubhouse was the hottest growing social network. Whenever there is a new platform that allows for communications across individuals with no restriction in who you reach out to, my inbox is flooded with flags and questions: What does this mean for media outreach? How can we use these new capabilities to engage with press? And so on.
My response: You don’t.
As PR professionals, we are constantly searching for new ways to get responses from journalists, in some cases, employing any means necessary to secure acknowledgement for a pitch for our clients. However, the flaw in this thinking is it puts priority on the method of communications, rather the focus should be – the content of the communications.
We have had many conversations with media, we know what it takes to secure feedback from journalists:
- Concise and specifically tailored messages
- Short and catchy subject lines
- Clear outline of resources and what you can provide
- Content that contains elements of newsworthiness (timeliness, proximity, conflict, human interest, relevance)
We know our pitches should reflect the above, but if you have most PR professionals look back on the emails they have sent over the last month, more emails were likely sent pushing for a response than highlighting the helpful content of the pitch. I don’t want to believe this is because of “lazy” work, but rather trying to do too much in too little time.
Writing a 150 word pitch sounds like it should be a quick ask. Something that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes—but you would be wrong. An effective 150 word pitch requires more investment than the 30 minutes it takes to review a press release and pull out the key points of news – it requires:
- Reading the recent articles of your target media—going back at least a month
- Reading overall news to understand why what you are pitching is relevant and needed right now
- A clear grasp on the overall company position and ability to discern between marketing jargon vs actual human speak and its relevance
So, before you think about all the new avenues you might have access to in order to reach press—focus on getting content right first. If you aren’t getting a response via email, why should that change because you Slacked someone (which also requires an email for acceptance)? Once you build relationships and are on a first name basis—then we can talk about the best route for communication.
Need help in your media relations strategy? Let me know: Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org.