To a writer, nothing written is ever wasted – unknown
Who’s reading your pitches nowadays?
According to Ellen Levine, editorial director for Hearst, nobody is reading them unless they already know your name. And with the high level of turnover on magazine mastheads and in newsrooms across the country, this is a media relations conundrum.
How can you be expected to know and be known by all of the key
journalists/influencers in your clients’ industry?
In order to establish yourself as a credible source with the media, I believe you have to take it back to the basics. All to often, we rely on digital technology designed to keep us connected, never realizing that the lower frequency of human interaction is actually making us less so.
Which is why I like to schedule relationship meetings with reporters that I am working with for the first time or journos who are new to a particular beat. And when an in-person meeting is not possible (due to geography or scheduling) I’ll set up a 30 minute call instead.
A relationship meeting should be a mutually beneficial experience. Having done all of your “past-byline” research, your focus going into the meeting should be about learning the reporter’s style/preference(s) and the nuances of his/her publication (ie. beat-sharing, etc). And the reporter should leave the meeting with at least 2-3 new story ideas and a sense of your/your clients’ credibility in their respective industries.
This practice has been invaluable to me because the relationship can easily get you onto a reporter’s short list of contacts to call first when the need arises. It has also served as a point of differentiation when compared to my peers–all because I took the extra time to show that I wasn’t only in the game for media placements. Rather, I am looking to build and sustain lasting relationships with all of the reporters that I work with.
At the end of the day, it’s a refreshing approach that has worked well. But I’m sure it’s not the only way.
I’d love to get some feedback on this to see how other PR professionals are handling the new pitching environment…