June 15, 2010
/ by Cision Staff
Last 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.
Kaitlin: You’ve talked about pitching to bloggers and published outlets, but what about TV outlets? Do you just e-mail or call too when pitching stories?
Andrea: I briefly addressed this question during the webinar but I wanted to get some extra feedback from the research department’s resident broadcast expert, Kristen Sala. As the manager of broadcast media, she has extensive experience working with both radio and television contacts. She advised, “Obviously each outlet is different, but in general I would say that unless you have a relationship with a specific journalist, it’s best to e-mail without calling to follow up.” She continued, “In many cases, TV stations actually prefer that you contact their journalists via the station’s website rather than directly, using an online contact form. I’ve also found that some TV stations prefer that you send your pitch to a news assignment manager rather than to the reporters themselves, because then the news assignment manager will assign that pitch to whomever he/she sees fit.”
David: Do you have ideas for how to protect my organization from negative press if I interact with bloggers who either have had controversial views/blog posts etc. in the past, or could in the future?
Valerie: One of the biggest fears PR pros have with social media is that they will be attacked by bloggers who haven’t checked their facts and aren’t accountable for what they say. I can’t say that won’t happen but one thing to keep in mind is that negative press is going to happen with or without you. By monitoring for relevant conversations and participating in those conversations, you have the ability to correct misperceptions before they spread.
If you’re interested in learning more about why listening to social media conversations is so important, you can sign up for Monitoring Social Media here, another free Cision webinar being presented on June 24 by Vanessa and Andrea.
Suzanne: You mentioned not to follow up on the phone after sending an e-mail pitch. Can you talk about when you should follow up with phone?
Andrea: Approach following up with a journalist on the phone in the same way you go about reaching out to an old friend with whom you’re trying to reconnect. You don’t want to pressure the person into responding if they’re not interested. It’s usually best to put the ball in their court by mentioning that unless you hear back, you’ll move forward in a different direction. Following up over the phone is always appropriate if the journalist has already expressed he or she prefers to be contacted that way; however always automatically following up via phone an hour after sending a press release is never a good idea. It’s usually the rule that journalists will reach out to you if he or she is interested.
Niela: I’m new to PR and just wondering how do you find out each media outlet’s deadlines?
Andrea: Deadlines vary across the board depending on what kind of media outlet is being approached. Unfortunately, there’s not one rule of thumb for magazines, newspapers, television or radio outlets. (It’s safe to say that there’s no such thing as deadlines with Internet media. The online news cycle doesn’t sleep.) When sending an introductory e-mail, make sure to ask about deadlines specifically. It will show the journalist that you’re respectful of time and are willing to work around his or her schedule.
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