Media: Maybe They’re Just Not That into You

A camera person records a television segment while she has hearts over her eyes.

Picture it: you’ve got the story of a lifetime. You feverishly type out a pitch, send it to a million media contacts, and expect your inbox to explode.

And then it doesn’t. Instead of media buzz, you get crickets.

Sure, maybe there was an important breaking story that bumped your pitch out of the limelight, but there’s another reason you might have gotten the cold shoulder: the media just isn’t that into you.

When it comes to public relations, the icy truth is that producers and journalists favor publicists who they like or who they’ve successfully worked with in the past. Like any relationship, creating and maintaining positive connections with the media takes work. Here are a few tips that will put you on the media’s good side. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become best friends with Brian Williams, Ellen, and Kelly Ripa.

Don’t Be an Ass

Don’t overthink this; it truly is as simple as it sounds. Don’t be an ass, and you will have a better chance of people liking you. How do you be nice to the press? It’s pretty easy:

  • Remember to say “please” and “thank you.”
  • Ask how someone’s day is going before getting down to business.
  • Give them credit for their work and share their stories on social media.
  • Respect their timelines and don’t email at absurd hours unless it is urgent.
  • If they pass on a story, accept “no” as an answer and get more creative next time.

 

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Get to the Point

When pitching the media, make sure you have a point. The media wants to provide their audiences with interesting, relevant content, so your story needs to provide them with something of value. Did your client just hire a new employee? That’s great, and we bet their mother is proud, but why does it matter to the media? Is this person going to drastically change the organization? Will this new role somehow have a community-wide impact? Is this person making history as the first in this type of role? Find the interesting angle and get to the point quickly – the media doesn’t have time to dilly dally.

In the words of Steve Martin: “Have a point!”

 

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Stay Organized

The media appreciates it when you have your shit together. If you say you will follow up on Monday, follow up on Monday. If you’re coordinating interviews, make sure everyone has the same information and no one’s time is wasted. Are you thinking about sending over an email with fourteen poorly-labeled attachments? Try creating an organized media kit with appropriate file names instead. The press will thank you, and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

 

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Play to Your Audience

After successfully working with a journalist or producer on a story, try to remember their love language so that you can appropriately connect with them in the future. Take note of whether or not they are formal or casual in their messages or how they sign their emails. Example: If a writer has “Sir Michael Ellington III” in their signature, maybe don’t start your email with “What’s up, Mike?!”

Did the lifestyle writer from Buzzfeed use lots of exclamation points and say things like, “thanks, girl!” or “omg you’re the best?” Then go ahead and drop a smiley face emoji in your next correspondence, and hell, also add in a palm tree, taco, and sunglasses emoji for good measure.

Pro tip: Definitely leave off the winky face if you’re chatting with the logistics writer from The Wall Street Journal.

 

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Getting the media to fall in love with you is no easy task, but if you play nice in the sandbox and make friends with the right people, you will have an easier time securing earned media.

In need of a PR team that knows how to do all of the above? Connect with our team today – you won’t regret it.

 

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