No Excuses; Know Reporters

Posted on April 4, 2012

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Several related things have skyrocketed in the past few years: the presence of the public relations profession; the widespread use of social media; and the recognition by corporations that they need to get in the [social media] game.  These increases have led to other increases: the number of pitches reporters get from PR people on a daily basis, the expectations companies have from their PR agencies to get media attention, the number of accounts PR people tend to have on their plate at a time…

One number has gone way down – the number of excuses a PR pro has to send blast pitches to reporters. The reporters hate it, they won’t pay attention, therefore won’t cover whatever it is you sent and your client will get upset that they’re not getting enough press.

The reason there are no excuses to blindly send a pitch to a reporter who does not want your pitch is because all the answers are out there already.  The reporters are on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, etc.), we can look them up in Cision, check out their old stories on Factiva and most obvious but least-used – go to their publication’s site and search for their stories. Are they covering a beat in which your client is relevant? If not – don’t pitch them.

If all the answers are out there – which reporters are covering the beats that matter to your client – why is blind pitching still such a rampant problem? Simple- because doing it right takes time. A lot of time. And going back to the original list of things on the rise, PR pros at successful agencies don’t have a lot of that most precious commodity.

Think about it. Let’s say an Account Executive has five accounts. Each of those accounts will have several angles to pitch (raising awareness of the brand, the CEO, a new product or story, etc.) and may fall under several beats.  I won’t bother with attempting to assign to time lengths to each of these tasks, but the point is, the minutes/hours/days can fly by.

Time by ToniVC

Our most precious commodity

I suppose it’s a good thing to be in such a high-demand industry that there are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything we’re capable of.

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