Media Coverage Made Simple

Reporter6 quick steps guided by magazine media relations expert Rebecca Bredholt, a veteran of our Vocus media research center.

We want the media to cover our news. What’s your one best tip to catch their attention in an email?

RB: Pitches live or die in subject lines to media contacts but if you email them too frequently, a stellar one won’t even matter. Translation: Sum up your pitch in the subject line, make it pertinent and catchy so the reader will want to open it. But only pitch when necessary–mass emailing it will dampen its effectiveness.

What is a good way to get a reporters attention in social media?

RB: Get a reporter’s attention by being knwoledgeable and/or helpful even when there’s no immediate benefit to your clients. Think about giving first and offering value before ever asking for a favor. Asking for something right off the bat without first establishing a relationship with the reporter is a fast way to get blacklisted. Offer a list of sources related to stories they’ve recently published, comment on or share their work, and embed yourself in their community.

Is it better to start pitching locally then move to national, or vice versa?

RB: Pitch local stories to local media first. Relevancy is what takes messages to a national level. So does the “cool factor” of the story. Take Honest Tea for an example: their social experiment easily became a media slug: LA was found to be the least honest city in 12 city experiment, and D.C. was rated the 2nd most honest city after Boston.

What does hyper-local mean and how can I use it to my advantage?

RB: Hyperlocal is a reduction from regional, saves on gas. Local outlets don’t get pitched enough, like radio. There’s PR aversion to “not waste time” on small local media outlets. Silly. Where do you think aggregated content comes from? Your local news station is constantly looking for community news. Give it to them!

What are some observed changes in the media so far in 2011 that we should pay attention to?

RB:  Traditional media has taken their expertise to the web to sort the wheat from the chaff. They’re using the web to look for their stories now. So go where the media is–follow them on social networks and become a part of their conversations. Also, The Daily Beast is getting a TV show, SF Chronicle is getting a radio program. Mediums are changing. Think brand not platform!

What’s the best way to research what topics reporters cover?

RB: Vocus, Help a Reporter Out, and Twitter all track what reporters cover. How much time you got? @invocus posts it in detail. Media moves, podcasts straight from reporters, and events to pitch.

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(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: sskennel)