Setting the stage for media relations success in 2023 begins with understanding the state of journalism. Reporters continue to be stretched thin due to outlet consolidation and are under pressure to produce more stories within shortened deadlines. When pitching media, be cognizant of the news cycle, making note of current and upcoming events, holidays and other observances that will take precedence. Media cycles can happen within 24 hours or less. It’s important to respond to a reporter’s queries promptly, be prepared with spokesperson availability and have supporting assets available to share for additional background information.
As PR pros, there are many ways we can be helpful when working with journalists. Here are three ways you can start the new year off above the fold:
Build Authentic Relationships
According to Muck Rack’s State of Journalism 2022, the average reporter covers four beats and 51% publish more than five stories each week. The easier you can make their job, the better chance you have to successfully grab their attention and build a strong relationship. Strive to make it on a journalist’s “short list” for the first opportunity to position your subject matter expert and secure an interview. Do your research before pitching to ensure it’s a fit for the reporter/outlet and confirm the availability and preparedness of your spokesperson. Not taking these steps may jeopardize your relationship and credibility.
Connect and Collaborate
Don’t be afraid to connect “old school” by picking up the phone – it may turn into your breakthrough moment with a reporter. But again, be sure your story angle is appropriate for their beat. “Collaborations are always most effective when PR professionals understand our format, editorial content style and audience prior to pitching,” according to a journalist surveyed in Cision’s State of the Media Report 2022.
Capitalize on Trending Topics
Newsjacking – injecting your ideas into breaking news stories or trends – will continue to be an effective way to garner earned media opportunities that drive results. Keep an eye on daily trending topics and identify angles to proactively pitch your industry expert who can provide an interesting POV – one that ties in how the company or product can address a current challenge or trend. According to Muck Rack, 71% of journalists polled in 2022 said addressing a subject connected to a trending story makes the story shareable.
It’s no secret that the media landscape is crowded. Authenticity, collaboration, and timeliness remain crucial elements for building strong relationships with reporters and securing more great media coverage for your subject matter experts and spokespeople.
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