3 Lessons in: Becoming a Media Resource

By Vanessa Boynton

Welcome to Lessons in PR, an ongoing series of public relations tips and advice from the professionals at Matter Communications. Have your own tip to submit? Respond in the comments or email vboynton@matternow.com.

Our daily tasks can end up working like blinders. While we plow through our tactics with dazzling aplomb, we can sometimes lose sight of the big picture – a big picture that demands that we fulfill a higher purpose than scatter-gunning pitches and ticking off to-do’s. As far as media contacts are concerned, it’s our job to cut out the guesswork, anticipate their needs and become a virtual extension of their editorial team. So what are some of the things we can do to show we have their back?

1. Do the Reading. “It’s our job to make sure that we are pitching the right targets for our clients, but once you’ve narrowed down to the appropriate contacts, you still need a strategy to get their attention. I have found it always helps to reference a reporter’s recent work to demonstrate that A) You are paying attention and have done your research, and B) Your pitch is worth reading and more than likely a good fit.” – Samantha Bell, Senior Account Executive

2. Follow Up. “About 75% of placements stem from following-up with a reporter. It reminds them that you’re still available to chat, and I even sometimes throw out different angles on the pitch to see if a different take is a better fit. Knowing the fine line between staying in touch and harassment is definitely key, but not following up and allowing that first email you sent to fall into oblivion is a surefire way to lose their interest and attention.” – Jenna Fogle, Account Executive

3. Get Hands-On with Clients’ Products. “Request regular demonstrations or samples of your clients’ primary products so you have a chance to actually use the items before they’re presented to your media contacts. You’ll be in a better position to anticipate how “it” will appeal to their readers, and they’ll benefit greatly from being able to get a few more of their technical questions answered, right away, by you. What’s more, you’ll be showing them that you’re dedicated to understanding the world they work in every day.” – Vanessa Boynton, Senior Account Executive