Working with clients, in many varied industries as we at All the Buzz do, it’s interesting how we come across the same questions over and over again. One I’ve heard most often is, “How do I work with the media? I have a story I think needs to be told.”
I must admit, even I had a fear of the media when I was an executive. Since I’ve been (and still am) a member of the media for over 30 years now, I want you to know that we’re just people. And anything you can do to make our jobs easier is always welcome.
Here’s how you can help us:
Bring Story Ideas
I write for publications, both consumer and business, and in both cases I need story ideas. A lot of the time I randomly run into stories, whether through people I meet, traveling to a new location, or by reading a story that sparks an interest. If you have a great and timely story idea, send it to the media outlet whose readers/viewers would most benefit from it. I stress timely because those are the stories most likely to run. Timely meaning just happened, will happen soon, or it’s a hot trend. Uncover the editor covering the beat and send a friendly, yet informative email including the “why this story is important,” and “why this story is important NOW.”
Today’s media is all about the images. If you have photographs, illustrations, graphics, or video of your story subject, offer those to the media along with your pitch email. This will keep us from having to scramble for an image, and will result in a better story. Offer yourself or other interview subjects, statistics, research backup, and anything else that might be a great visual for the story. DO NOT send these items until you are asked for them, however. We don’t need a bunch of huge files clogging up our emails, and we won’t open unsolicited attachments. In fact, you will probably go directly into our spam folders.
Make Yourself a Resource
If you know a certain editor covers a particular beat, and you just happen to be an expert in that field, send information to that editor as it becomes available. A quick email stating something like, “I thought you’d find this interesting,” along with the relevant “why” and “why now” information should grab his or her attention. Give me your contact information (all of it) so that I can create a file on you as a subject matter expert. You never know when I’ll be handed an assignment for which you or your company will fit the bill.
Use Subjects in the Subject Line
Tell me what the email is about in the subject line. No vague “Hi, how are you?” emails will ever catch my attention. Most editors get hundreds, if not thousands of emails each day.
Don’t Bug Me
Editors don’t have time to respond to everyone. Do not call and ask, “Did you get my email?” or send a whiny email saying something like, “I haven’t heard back from you yet.” We will respond to story ideas we like. More than likely, we will contact you immediately, and expect that you will respond immediately as well, since the story is probably timely. If a reporter or editor contacts you, call them back immediately. They are on tight deadlines and will skip your story if they can’t catch you on the first, or maybe second, try.
All the Buzz PR
Personally, I have pitched, written and published well over 1,500 stories to date, many on behalf of or about clients we represent. If you have a great story idea you’d like to see in the media, contact us. We’ll be glad to help get it into the media.