Is social media so king that coffee drinkers will forgo their morning newspaper? Will television viewers resort to watching shows solely online?
Many have substituted these industry standbys with social media tools for their daily news stories and entertainment purposes. Thousands of newspapers and magazines folded in 2010 and 2011 as audiences traded black-inked fingers for something cleaner, less text-heavy and with more interactivity — hence the iPad's booming sales. Social media has also changed some aspects of how PR professionals engage journalists and target audiences, yet some public relations traditions remain tried and true. According to PR Daily, here are seven tips to reach busy journalists in the changing media landscape:
Media outlets want more than just text. They’re looking for pictures and video. But your content should continue to mind the three Cs: clear, concise, compelling.
The old rules for pitching still apply. Just because social media is forcing traditional media companies to evolve, that doesn’t mean they should be treated differently. Treat reporters like you would other humans, which is what editors and reporters are. Be polite: Introduce yourself first, and ask questions later.
Buy a smart phone and/or computer tablet. The media are creating content for these platforms; you should know what they look like and how they work.
Don’t pitch using social media. Just 2 percent of journalists prefer pitches through social media, while 80 percent want them to come through email, according to a PRWeek/PR Newswire study.
Do get to know them on social media platforms. Follow a reporter’s or editor’s tweets. Take note of what they’re sharing. And unless you know them personally, don’t “friend” them on Facebook.
Make it easy for reporters. Shrinking newsroom staffs and a growing online field of media outlets mean that journalists are more crunched for time than ever before. Provide the necessary information about your subject to reporter which may give a better chance of story being written. Serve as a good resource to the reporter to make their work a little easier.
- The best time to pitch a TV newsroom is between 8 and 9 am. That’s usually before the editorial staff’s morning meeting. Unless it’s breaking news, pitch your story at least a few days or a week in advance. Also, TV journalists want to speak with real people who are affected by your product or organization — not just your spokesperson or CEO.
So there you have it—seven tips on how to approach today’s journalist in a world dominated by social media. Bottom line: Reporters want to know that you have seen their previous work and that you respect their time. The playing field may look different but many of the same rules still apply.
By Nicole Hayes
Nicole brings a strong background in consumer outreach, partnership development and media relations to McKinney & Associates. Many of her communications strategies were cultivated during her work with international public relations agency Fleishman Hillard Inc., where she developed and implemented strategies and media relations outreach for large consumer and government clients.
With her skilled foundation, Nicole sought a career to support her core belief that people make the best investments and launched her own D.C.-based media relations consultancy, Pieces of Life, to serve small businesses and non-profit organizations. She is committed to the mission that drives McKinney and its clients.