Today I am on the panel for the Boise’s Capital City Communicators (CCCBoise) September program Has Social Media Changed the Media Pitch? Tips to Get Your Story Told. I am lucky to be sharing the big table with Robb Hicken of the Idaho Business Review, Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman, and Don Day of KTVB Channel 7. I am excited to hear what these media veterans from the other side have to say about the subject.
My feeling is that the essence of a successful media relationship begins and ends with our ability to create a connection with the journalist. Whether it is our superb insights or our high-level access, relationship with writers and editors is what our clients depend on. The PR people who are successful at earning coverage on behalf of clients are the ones who can get through to the press, earn their attention and keep it.
Years ago, it was getting a reporter to take your call – then came fax, email and the internet. With inboxes now overflowing and conversations happening by the millions every minute, social media is the only way to stay ahead, as Facebook and Twitter have become the preferred method of contact for many journalists. Without a strong knowledge of these tools, our ability to successfully pitch stories decreases.
Recently, I attended #Journchat with Ryan Osborn, the new Director of Social Media at NBC News, which took place live via the web from @NBCnews headquarters. The take-away for me was that each panelists noted more than once that social media – Twitter and Facebook specifically – was their main method for sourcing stories – email, fax and phone are dead for these national media professionals.
Clearly, our profession has changed. We might not fully embrace the changes or be head-over-heels in love with social media, but our partners in this media relationship – journalists – expect us to communicate on their terms, which today, means online, via social media. I rarely advocate a social media only approach to communications strategy, but when pitching stories to journalists, this is a public relations tactic that you want to employ early and often.
PS. Jules’ Rule on hooking journalists: Fish where the fishes are: in a stocked pond.*NOTE: A similar piece ran in the September issue of the CCC Boise Member Newsletter