2022—another year of uncertainties. This means another year of uncertainties for the public relations industry. Publicists and communication experts are no strangers to the changing landscape of this business. We are used to adapting to what the industry throws at us. Though the world may be ever-changing, your media relations practices do not need to suffer. Here are a few trends and tips to incorporate for continued success in the media relations space.
Owned Media Turned Earned Media
Being the savvy publicist you are, you understand newsrooms are dwindling and they have been for years. Press conferences, which used to feature a swarm of newsroom cameras, reporters and mics on the podium, can sometimes have minimal attendance. No matter the announcement or how good your pitch is, reporter and camera attendance is now at the mercy of newsroom staffing. With frequent turnover, reporters and photographers out sick or in quarantine, newsrooms are spread thinner than ever.
Not to worry, you can still get that news in the right hands so your event or press conference is covered in the media. You and your team will need to jump in and create high-quality video or photography to send to newsrooms. At Baker Public Relations, our Creative Services Department is present at all events, capturing professional video, interviews and photography to send to TV stations, newsrooms and reporters after the event. If a news camera is unable to attend, you can still pass along footage that the station can use in its coverage. Whether it is a high-quality livestream or a video file you are delivering to their inbox, it is important to provide options, so you are not dependent upon the journalist’s attendance. These pieces of content can also be used to promote the event or announcement on social media, further amplifying the coverage. And bonus, this assures the content itself will be cohesive to your client’s brand and message. Need more tips for shooting effective videos? Visit our blog on the topic.
Strengthening the Pitch
Continuing the topic of shrinking newsrooms, it is no secret that journalists are stressed, overworked and do not have time to spare. As they sift through the hundreds of emails a day, we can just envision them muttering the words of Anna Delvey, “I don’t have time for this, I don’t have time for you!” As staffing issues plague the news industry, personalized, strong pitches are more important than ever.
When crafting a pitch, you must think like a journalist. Find the conflict, excitement and why your specific pitch brings interest. You must research journalists beforehand to see what they typically write about and make sure your pitch fits their beat. According to a survey created by Muck Rack, lack of personalization is usually what leads a journalist to reject a pitch.
A pitch is usually composed of two parts, a couple of short paragraphs providing basic information such as details and newsworthy information, along with a compelling subject line. Though the subject line is much shorter than the pitch itself, it requires the same amount of detail and attention. Subject lines are the first impression, the deciding factor that leads a journalist to open your pitch or move it to the trash folder. Studies have shown that subject lines with 49 characters or less have a much higher open rate than those with 50 or more characters. Removing fluff and useless adjectives can make your subject line more appealing.
Lastly, do not throw too much at the journalist all at once. Make it clear that you have all the material available to bring the story to life but no need to provide it upfront. Once you get a response, this is the perfect opportunity to provide photos, quotes, further data, statistics and video to bring the piece together. The easier you can make it for the journalist the better. If you become a great partner, they will want to work with you again and again!
Navigating the Virtual World
“Can you hear me?”
“Is my video on?”
“Can you see my screen share?”
So, you have secured the interview for your client. Great job! Now what? While you may have joined your client for in-person, in-studio or on-location interviews in the past, virtual interviews have become the norm over the last couple of years and we will most likely continue for the foreseeable future.
Though the workspace has been virtual for more than two years, many still have not gained the skills to navigate it. Things like Wi-Fi connectivity or a screen background may seem frivolous to worry about, they are among the many first impressions that can lead to a successful virtual interaction.
It may seem redundant but ensuring that your client is well prepared to handle a virtual interview should be part of your media training and client relations process. What video conferencing platform will you be using? Make sure your client is aware of how to login and how the platform works. Will the journalist supply the link, or will you be responsible for coordinating that step? Ensure your client’s environment appears tidy when viewed on video or perhaps opt for a branded background. Will you need lighting? Is there a strong Wi-Fi connection? Will this video footage be used in the piece, or will they simply be interviewing for a written piece? There are many things to consider to ensure the interview goes off without a hitch, but the more prepared you are, the better impression you will make.
Our team works diligently to stay on top of new public relations trends and strategies. It is what we must do to be a good public relations partner and keep abreast of this ever-changing industry. If you want to start pursuing media relations for your brand or business, contact our office today to learn how we can help get you the recognition you deserve. To see examples of how we secure media for our clients, visit our case studies page.