by Matt Allinson – Media Relations Manager, International Markets
Seven superb Seattle journalists assembled downtown on a gray December day for Business Wire Seattle’s media “speed dating” event. The event provided an opportunity for those who work with the media and/or who are interested in the media to have small group discussions with the journalists who matter to them most. The goal, as always, was to foster education and understanding between the media and PR/IR community (as well as with the public at large).
The journalists varied widely in terms of the media they work for, the industries and companies they cover, and the way they do their jobs. We had a marijuana industry magazine editor; a tech reporter for a start-up; a long time public radio reporter who recently switched to commercial radio; a television producer; a digital editor; a finance reporter; and a tech reporter from the state’s biggest paper.
The journalists offered many excellent tips for interacting with media and pitching stories. Here are some you should remember:
- Press releases are great … particularly those that include multimedia … but a personalized email pitch or a follow-up call that comes with it can make a big difference.
- Know who you’re pitching and what they write … take the time to form a relationship if you want the reporter to cover you now or in the future.
- Taylor Soper of Geekwire.com pulls two to three stories a week from Twitter. It’s increasingly becoming one of his favorite ways to find story ideas.
- Radio interviews … Sara Lerner of KIRO Radio always prefers an in-studio interview, but recognizes that short notice can make that difficult. A great alternative, she says, is to use Skype, because you don’t need a microphone and it resolves the problem of cell phone quality and the scarcity of landlines.
- If you live in a marijuana-friendly state, take note of the publications focusing on that industry. Marijuana Venture Magazine editor Garrett Rudolph said his magazine started as a 8-page black and white publication in the spring of 2014 and is now a 120+ page glossy.
- How does the Seattle Times‘ tech reporter Rachel Lerman find stories? For one, she scans Business Wire’s daily PressPass feed. She also has various alerts set up on all the companies that she covers.
- A major pet peeve amongst several of the journalists in attendance was lack of an available contact. Too many times, they say, have they received an interesting press release only to call the contact number on the bottom and get no answer. Lack of availability will often lead to a lack of coverage.
- One way to ensure reporters always have access to additional information, images and company contacts is to include a link to your organization’s online newsroom. These sites are crucial for reporters, as well as analysts and other decision makers when looking for more information about your brand.
For more tips and and to better understand the tools journalists are currently using, download the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey.
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