Richmond Media Discuss Role of Press Releases and Offer Timing and Pitching Tips

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

Business Wire hosted a Meet the Richmond Media event recently at the Ramada Plaza West in Richmond, Va. More than 50 public relations and communications professionals were in attendance to hear from a media panel discussion moderated by Business Wire client Jon Newman of The Hodges Partnership. The panel included:

–         Scott Bass, News Editor at Style Weekly

–         Rachel DePompa, Richmond Reporter at NBC12

–         Gregory Gilligan, Business Editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch

–         Susan Winiecki, Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher of Richmond Magazine

Photo by Michael Toner/Business Wire

In addition to talking about news gathering techniques and tools, the panel discussed the role of press releases in the news industry, new technologies and how they have affected journalism, and current topics of interest in Richmond. Here are some tips and takeaways from the discussion:

1)      Personalize your pitch – According to Scott Bass of Style Weekly, e-mails that include “For Immediate Release” are immediately deleted. Tailor your pitch to help cut through the clutter. A great way to engage a reporter is to reference a previous article. He also recommends including contact names, phone numbers and availability for multiple sources in your press release.

2)      Be cognizant of deadlines – Reporters are filing stories at the end of the day so don’t call late in the afternoon, said Gregory Gilligan of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He suggests trying them early morning and also including bullet points of key information in your press release.

3)      Develop a relationship – According to Susan Winiecki of Richmond Magazine, press releases are only the start of the conversation. Schedule meetings to learn about the publication and its editorial calendar, and also to inform reporters about your clients.

4)      Think about the visuals – Broadcast reporters need time to create visuals for their stories, said Rachel DePompa of NBC12. Give at least a day’s notice for events if you want to be covered. Also leave time after press conferences for reporters to conduct interviews. They need original sound bites for their coverage.

Business Wire Senior Account Executive Michael Toner also compiled a recap of the event that includes audience and panelist tweets. To see the story, click here.

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwevents

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