If you are a public relations professional for a B2B or midsized company you have watched coverage opportunities become even more scarce than ever before. I asked Jeff Vance about this. Jeff exemplifies the new breed of Journalist.
Jeff is a freelance journalist whose work might appear in any one of a half dozen, or more, publications on any given month. Because he has a constant and ever-changing need for great story resources he spends time developing relationships with a small army of PR people.
He blogs about good PR practices on Sandstorm Media Blog. Also, he writes a regular newsletters on what he is working on next, and includes insider details on how PRs can get coverage in those articles. Jeff goes out of his way to give the PRs he works with every advantage to be successful. He does this because he wants to encourage the best PRs to want to work with him.
Spray and pray, AKA email blasts, Jeff warns can kill your chances forever. When you pitch freelance journalist, you have to show that you know what she or he writes, and failure to research the media you contact and sending an irrelevant pitch, can get your emails blocked forever. You must handcraft your story just for that reporter.
Media List Building Is Dead
Don’t waste their time. Jeff says the message here is media list building is dead. PRs have to be in the media relationship building game now. Any thing less just won’t cut it.
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Unlike the past, freelance journalists don’t have time for any off topic pitches. Not that they ever did, but now they are on the clock and have clients, too. Jeff writes as a journalist, but he writes content marketing pieces for clients. Journalists with this kind of hybrid revenue model is not uncommon these days.
This presents an opportunity to help a reporter out. Do you know someone who is looking for a writer for a white paper, or article, or other marketing project? A referral to one of the freelance journalists you want to build a relationship can go a long way. It will not guarantee you coverage, but that reporter is likely to read your email and give your pitch the extra attention when reading the things you send. This can make the differences for your success.
Use Reciprocity To Flue Media Relationships
Social media is important to most journalists these days, too. Spending a few minutes everyday reviewing the Twitter streams for those key editors and reporters, and re-tweeting their bylined articles, with their Twitter handles included, can help you get noticed.
The takeaway is understanding reciprocity. How can you help the reporter out? While these ideas have always been true, there are now more ways for you to do a reporter a solid before you need them.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.