by Cindy Cantu, Client Services Representative, Business Wire/Houston
Learning how to attract media coverage was one of the many topics discussed during the Business Wire Media Luncheon: Trends in Today’s Newsrooms, hosted by Business Wire Houston on Dec. 12. Clients had the opportunity to hear perspectives from two of Houston’s top media professionals: Houston Bureau Chief Richard Stubbe of Bloomberg News and Managing Editor Greg Barr of the Houston Business Journal.
There is no secret formula for attracting media coverage, but both panelists agreed there are things businesses should do when pitching stories. First, the communication should be from a top level executive, preferably the CEO, and personalized, not an obvious email blast to numerous media outlets. Second, include as much vital information as possible, so the story can be directed to the appropriate reporter. Finally, if the pitch is regarding a personnel change, always include a high-resolution photo with the actual story. Stories without photos are generally not even considered.
Barr said the public can even upload profiles and photos on their own via the HBJ website, http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/. The profiles and photos go through an approval process, before being posted to the site in the “People On The Move” section.
An obvious email blast is a pet peeve for both Barr and Stubbe. They would much rather receive pitches for an exclusive story, instead of a pitch that is sent to multiple media outlets.
Some news is automatic for the Houston Business Journal. Barr said the publication compiles a comprehensive list of the Top 25 Houston-based public companies each quarter. Other companies are reviewed, but their inclusion in the publication is not automatic. They also report on stock swings and mergers/acquisitions, if they meet certain criteria.
Covering earnings releases is not what it used to be for Bloomberg News, according to Stubbe. He said there is not as much separate reporting on earnings releases anymore because people tend to read the “actual” earnings release instead of Bloomberg’s related article.
In this technology-driven world, the panelists were asked what their publications were doing to keep up with social media. Stubbe said Bloomberg News was still finding its way with social media, but recognized its importance. Barr joked that his perspective on Twitter is to “just follow Ashton Kutcher and go from there.” In reality, he said, his staff utilizes all social media options, including Facebook and Twitter. In fact, HBJ stories are instantly tweeted, he added.
Business Wire Houston would like to thank both Richard Stubbe of Bloomberg News and Greg Barr of the Houston Business Journal for serving as panelists, and the BW clients who attended the event.