On Deadline with Tim Nelson

Padilla’s Media Relations Consultants represent a group of agency professionals who are delivering top media relations strategies and placements for our clients. This team invests time and expertise to build strong news media relationships and craft engaging stories that build audience awareness and trust.

The Buzz Bin’s “On Deadline” series introduces you to members of this team with a short Q&A. Meet Tim Nelson, currently working on communication strategy and media relations for global manufacturing, tech and software companies.

Q: How did you become interested in media relations?

A: I studied broadcast journalism as an undergrad and always liked the idea of storytelling and working side-by-side with journalists. My job in media relations has allowed me to be a storyteller for dozens of different brands in different categories. Plus, it helps me use the skills I honed in journalism school on the other side of the business.

Q: What are the top three things you need in a successful pitch?

A: Think like a reader and know the person you’re pitching. Too often, young people in media relations spray out content to a huge media list with no regard for the message that it sends to journalists. And pitches aren’t written with readers in mind. It’s a lazy approach to the work! A good pitch should be crafted exactly for the right journalist and his or her readers – with the resources to help craft a good story.

Provide resources: background info, images, videos, data and statistics. Think about everything a journalist needs to report on a story and try to offer as much as possible. The job is to be a resource and a connection point – not a road block between journalist and source.

A good pitch should be crafted exactly for the right journalist and his or her readers – with the resources to help craft a good story.Click To Tweet

Start with a relationship first. It’s a catch-22 in this field that pitches get relationships, which are necessary for pitches to get read. They key is to know the media landscape you’re working within and find ways to connect with journalists before you start pitching stories. Meet up with them at an industry event. Schedule a call to learn more about their background. Engage with them on social media.

Q: What are your thoughts and observations on the ever-changing media landscape?

A: Media relations folks outweigh working journalists in staggering ratios. Newsrooms are shrinking and publications are disappearing. But trust in journalism and media is actually on the rise as people wise up on the information they’re consuming – and from where. It makes the relationship element of media relations that much more important. Know your contacts, know their beats and know how and when to connect them to a source (or when not to).

Q: What’s your go-to outlet for news and why?

A: I regularly follow the top outlets for clients’ beats and The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times for business news. As a journalism school grad, I am a big supporter of my local newspaper, the Star Tribune, and I’m a member of Minnesota Public Radio.

Q: What is a placement that makes you proud, and what did it take to get that story? 

A: So much of our work is in digital versions of a publication – or in digital-only publications – so I don’t have one particular placement that makes me proud; I still love to see a placement in a print outlet. This happened recently for a client when they appeared in a front-page business story in The Wall Street Journal. It was awesome!

Q: What’s on your work bucket list?

A: Livecast a new product launch. Live video is becoming such a huge part of the way we consume content online, and I think there are big opportunities for companies to take advantage of this channel – especially in b2b where the audiences are so well defined. Live video can be a great way to connect journalists to an event, even if they’re in a different location. Check out my blog on live video here.

Q: Who is your favorite media personality and why?

A: Cathy Wurzer, host for Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition. She’s a fabulous journalist and reporter.

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received? Who gave you that advice? 

A: I was recently in a workshop about career development and networking, and the speaker talked about how younger people often use time with their supervisors as a time to drop problems, rather than one to offer solutions. He said, “Five minutes before you walk into your boss’ office for a one-on-one, ask yourself, ‘What’s she being held accountable for? How does the work I’m doing play into that?’” It gives you a much different perspective on the manager/employee relationship and has been a good force for growth in my own career.

Q: What is your advice for a communication professional experiencing anxiety about pitching media?

A: Everyone gets anxious at times, but if you’re confident in your pitch and you’re targeting the right person with the right story and resources, you’re helping to facilitate an important connection. To me, the excitement of that process outweighs any anxiousness!

To talk with Tim about how he can elevate your media relations program, contact us

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