What does the media really think of PR pros? From the key ingredients of a great pitch, to frequency for calls and follow-up, Martin Davison PR shared pointers for maintaining a positive rapport with media at PRSA Buffalo Niagara’s “Managing Media Relationships” last month. Attendees heard straight from the source — and the sources.
Senior PR Manager Christine Denham and PR Manager Kailey Kolozsvary assessed the current media market, discussed what makes a story newsworthy and shared candid feedback they’ve received from reporters. Attendees rotated between tables to meet the media guests: Scott Scanlon, The Buffalo News; Mike Petro, The Hamburg Sun; Brian Meyer, WBFO; and Jeff Rusack, WKBW.
Words of advice for PR pros, straight from the sources:
“The more advanced notice, the better – Things move quickly at The Buffalo News and buffalonews.com. We only like news dropped on us when it’s big, unexpected, breaking and vital for our readers to know as soon as possible. My bosses – I work for readers first, my sanity second and my editors third. I want to collaborate with you, your bosses and your clients, but I don’t work for you. Please accept when I pass on a story or can’t deliver it at your chosen time. There will be other opportunities.”
Reporter & WNY Refresh Editor, The Buffalo News
“Send as much of your community news — happenings, events, press conferences, honors and accolades — as possible to the media outlets that cover the region. Make sure to localize it for your community newspaper and be concise yet informative when sending your pitches. Try to pitch what is unique, interesting and will make a connection with the media outlet’s audience — for example, the story behind the story. Make sure you give the media outlet a reason to cover and care about your news and keep the process as convenient as possible for both parties. Do not get discouraged if something is not covered exactly the way you envisioned or at all. Keep plugging away for the next time.”
Editor, The Hamburg Sun
“Pitch strong stories. When you’re preparing a pitch, think like a journalist. What type of stories would people want to hear, watch or read? Make sure your pitch includes “real people” who are easily accessible. If you’re pitching a story about a new human services program, reporters will want to talk to talk to folks who are actually using the services – not just the agency’s CEO or the program’s director. Try to emphasize the human link. Give as much advance notice as possible. Unless the issue can be classified as “breaking news,” you don’t want to pitch a story that would have to be processed immediately. Many newsrooms work weeks in advance on features. The more notice you give, the better the chances that a story will be pursued – as long as it’s a strong prospect.”
Senior Director of News and Public Affairs, WBFO
“Keep it simple. We just want to tell stories, help us find the characters for those stories. Don’t talk while we’re shooting b-roll.”
Multimedia Journalist, WKBW
For PR pros, social media continues to become an effective tool for pitching. Martin Davison PR is pleased to share its Media Twitter List, a compilation of 500+ Twitter handles for reporters in the Buffalo, Rochester and Southern Ontario markets.Download The Media Twitter List