Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Gorkana has put together the top lessons learned at our Media Briefings of “What Not to Do” from senior journalists at the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.
In 2013, I will not...
#1 Use newswire services or untargeted mass e-mails to pitch my great idea or expert to journalists.
“Automatic deletion," journalists have said regarding what happens when PRs send mass e-mails. “Relationships get downgraded” and emails get ”automatically deleted," when PRs send mass e-mails, according to several journalists.
Pitching is personal – Sending blind e-mails or pitches that begin with “Dear Financial Professional,” is ineffective, pleads Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox. Know who you are reaching out to and what they cover. Reuters New York Deputy Editor-in-Chief Paul Ingrassia says time is money, and that PRs should make sure they’re bringing something valuable to the table.
The Heard on the Street team from The Wall Street Journal reiterated this need for personalized messaging. You need to tailor your pitches in order to get this team’s attention. Make pitches personal to get this team’s attention. “We’re in the market for ideas,” said WSJ Heard on the Street Deputy Editor Liam Denning at Gorkana’s October briefing with his team. “E-mails need to be really unique and have points to them.”
Journalists say it is critical that PRs provide relevant information about the company, products and news and how these relate to technological, cultural, financial and industry changes. Providing helpful insights make you stand out from the crowd and build stronger relationships with journalists in time.
#2 Go in blind; I’ll know journalists’ style before pitching them
Here is where social media is a PR’s friend. To know “the vibe” of the journalist you are pitching, Richard Jaroslovsy of Bloomberg TV West recommends looking at whom he or she follows on Twitter, what they tweet and stories they have covered.
#3 Send them a great pitch idea ... 30 or 60 minutes before deadline
“If my show is on at 3:00 PM,” said Bloomberg TV West’s Wendy Brundige, “...don’t call me at 2:30 PM.”
#4 Only include CEO quotes
Go Beyond the C-Suite – It’s critical to articulate perspectives of employees lower on the totem pole to get your story published, according to the Heard on the Street and Bloomberg TV West teams. Ongoing news trends demand more in-depth pitches, illustrating interesting employees who organically represent your company.
#5 Write long pitch e-mails
Keep your news angles and expert recommendations to journalists short and sweet to avoid automatic e-mail deletion.
The Business Edition team at the Associated Press emphasized how critical it is to keep the emails brief. Simply share a name, area of expertise and number. AP Tech Editor John Simons emphasized that pitch e-mails’ subject and first three lines must make attention-grabbing points or they’ll get buried in the deluge of e-mails that follow and that providing after 5pm contact information is also a plus.
Gorkana Media Database clients have access to even more need-to-know information and helpful hints shared by these journalists. Preferences regarding story length, visual assets, and current hot topics are continuously added to the database to support more effective and relevant pitches for the PR and communications community. To request a demo, click here.