Targeting the Media Q&A
Earlier this week, I presented Targeting the Media, a free Cision webinar, with Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Marketing Vanessa Bugasch and 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.
Stephanie: If you have to send a blast e-mail how do you decide who to “follow up with” or what should you use as a hook?
Ashley: What do you consider appropriate follow-up if you don’t get a response your first time to an e-mail introduction or a pitch?
Andrea: These are great questions about follow-ups that go hand in hand. Sending out a e-mail blast is always risky and following up an e-mail blast is even more precarious. Before sending out a blast, it’s best to carefully think about to whom the blast is being sent. If you’ve done your research beforehand and targeted contacts carefully, follow ups are OK. Accordingly, if you’re following up after initially receiving no response, it’s best to approach the contact like you would approach a friendship. Let the contact know you plan to move forward in another direction unless you hear back. This way, the contact can respond if interested. Many times, journalists keep a rolodex of potential story ideas and contacts, so even if they’re interested in the story now, they may use it in the future.
Kelly: How can you target bloggers of a certain topic in a specific geographic area?
Val: Sifting through thousands of blogs in the social Web can be overwhelming. Many aren’t pitchable, while others haven’t been updated in months, even years. Here at Cision our media research team does an excellent job of finding the most up-to-date, influential blogs covering a variety of niche topics. If you have access to CisionPoint, you have the ability to search over 13,000 blogs by geographic area. (Excuse the plug.) If you don’t have access to a media database, free tools such as Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, Linkedin groups, etc. can help identify a subset of people within a specific geographic area. A simple Web search can provide great results as well. Search for blogs discussing the topic you’re interested in and research where those bloggers are congregating. Bloggers are part of a community that share the same interests and topics they’re passionate about. Oftentimes blogs feature blogrolls and they can be an excellent resource for blogs you may not have found through a search. Don’t forget to look at blog post comments. Many of the commenters are fellow bloggers and their blogs may be what you’re looking for. Engage and comment with them to help build future relationships, but remember to only share your own links and stories as a larger mix of compelling content!
Christine: What is your take on VNRs as a way to get a story covered? Any advice?
Andrea: VNRs, or Video News Releases, are a somewhat touchy topic in broadcast media. In short, they’re prepackaged videos distributed to television stations and are indistinguishable as non-news. (Think of water skiing squirrels) Many newsrooms see VNRs as a double-edged sword: they fill up time in the newscasts and require no additional legwork; however viewers are easily misled since these video packages aren’t differentiated from the rest of the news on the broadcast.
For more help on this topic, I called upon the expertise of Kristen Sala, Manager of Broadcast Media in the research department and Cision. She said, “Most of the time when we get feedback from broadcast contacts, people want the regular old press release. Oftentimes the feedback we get from cable systems is specifically related to PSAs [public service announcements] on video, rather than the traditional news release.” Long story short, a thoughtfully crafted press release is probably the best way to score coverage and open to the door to a relationship with a contact.
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