Targeting the Media Q&A

Last week, I presented Targeting the Media, a free Cision webinar, with Director of Media Research Valerie Lopez. The webinar examined how to reach the appropriate media and develop relationships with journalists. We received a lot of great questions, some of which we didn’t get a chance to answer during the presentation. We’ve tackled a couple of them here instead.

Vanessa: When commenting on blogs, how do you approach building the relationship from a personal level, while still representing your company?

Val: Transparency is key! I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Bloggers and their readers do not want to feel duped so it’s important you identify yourself as a representative of a brand from the get go. And like any relationship, it takes time. Get to know a blogger by becoming regular reader of his or her blog. Leave substantive, thoughtful comments. Posting “great article” does not a relationship make. Engage with the blogger and other commenters. It’s all about adding to the conversation and not just pushing your own content. We always recommend the rule of thirds: have a third of it be about you and your brand, have another third be about promoting others and have another third be regular conversation.

Mike: When pitching traditional media journalist, if they run story in print or on broadcast, how do we in turn get them to blog about it, or can we?

Andrea: More than ever, coverage is crisscrossing several mediums. Many journalists say stories can start with a blog post and then blossom into a longer-form broadcast or print story — and vice versa. As always, it’s never a good idea to pressure someone into writing a blog post or story. If the pitch is appropriate and relevant, the journalist will find the best way to cover it and it’s your job to make sure they have all the resources and information they need.

Andrew: I am utilizing Facebook as a media. What are your views on MySpace? Is there an advantage to talking to the MySpace crowd? Who is the MySpace crowd (how are they different from Facebook)?

Val: The MySpace crowd is hugely popular with musicians and entertainers. It’s a great place for them to showcase their work and share news with fans. Many people in the entertainment industry utilize MySpace to promote movies, songs, comedy, art, etc. I find that MySpace is great for promoting while Facebook is great for cultivating relationships.

Jaclyn:  With small, local media, where every reporter covers lots of beats, what’s the best way to pitch individual reporters?

Andrea: With cutbacks, staff reductions and the pressure to produce more stories, journalists are taking on more beats and are responsible for wearing many hats. The best way to pitch an individual reporter is to acknowledge his or her status as a “jack of all trades.” It is appropriate to mention that you’re aware of their multiple beats and responsibilities, but specifically mention why your pitch is unique and relevant for a particular area. Even though journalists are covering more topics, it doesn’t mean they’ll ignore a relevant pitch when it comes their way.

Jessica: You said not to follow up via phone, are there any exceptions?

Andrea: There are exceptions to every rule and the best way to shortcut this problem is to ask the journalist if they mind follow-up phone calls. In my experience, most journalists are too busy for follow-up phone calls and an e-mail seems more appropriate. However, it’s very possible you’ll come across a journalist who prefers a quick phone call. If you’ve developed a relationship with a journalist, feel free to ask questions aimed at making his or her job easier. If it means following up via phone, dial away!

To get in touch with Val, please contact valerie dot lopez at Cision dot com.