If you’re my mom the title of this blog is finished with “the clouds” if you’re one of my friends, the closing two words reference a darker, odoriferous place. The truth is it is hard to stay out of the weeds at work, in life or in the case I’ll blog about today… Your media lists.
Media lists are invaluable tools of the trade. Pitching to your list is important for establishing a report with reporters and for getting valuable trade coverage, but sometimes you have to take a step back. To get what you’ve never gotten try shortening your trade list down to media outlets that you feel are most likely to run that tech-heavy, trade oriented press release. Take the time you’d usually allocate to calling and leaving messages on machines or pleading with an editor that hasn’t given you the time of day in six months and try a different tact.
1) The AP Daybook: If you are pitching an event take two minutes, call your local Associated Press bureau (http://www.ap.org/pages/contact/contact.html) and ask for the daybook editor. With more than 10 years of morning meetings under my belt, I can tell you that there hasn’t been one where the Assignment editor didn’t pull out the AP daybook when sending reporters out on stories. While you have the daybook editor on the phone ask for his or her email address along with the local general email address (sending advisories to firstname.lastname@example.org seldom works). DO NOT send the daybook editor a press release! If that’s all you have, touch it up with a quick- who: what: when: where: and why and call it a Media Advisory. Same goes for LNS (for more info see Matter Chatter from July 21st and 22nd.)
2) Go big or go home: We’ve all gone for a spot on Oprah, but this is the part the blog where my mom’s advice kicks in. Spend a small amount of your allocated pitch time going for the big fish, but make sure you spend that time wisely. Don’t Pitch TV reporters (unless you already have an established relationship), anchors, news directors or the assignment desk. Do pitch anyone with assignment editor, producer or assistant news director in their title.
3) Go deeper than the weeds: We all have friends that are geeky in different ways. Think of a friend or friends that your story will resonate with the most. Give them a call and ask them how they’d pitch the story if they were you. If they truly are geeky in the way you thought, they will appreciate that you remembered what they are interested in, will want to help and just might give you a contact and reference to a great editor or reporter. Grass roots pitching works as part of a campaign, just be careful not to burn the roots.
We’ll that’s all I got for getting your head out of your media lists, as for work and life… You’re on your own.