Do you want more people to know about your business? Are you interested in having a story written about your product or services, but aren’t sure how to get the ink? Strategic public relations can help – if you employ proper media relations.
While all journalists and local reporters follow the same ethical rules and best practices for presenting news, each reporter, editor, producer, etc. has their own preferred style for getting information. Knowing what your local reporters’ preferred means of contact (as well as their pet peeves) can greatly enhance your chances of getting your news covered!
When we brought this up to Gulfshore Business Magazine and Gulfshore Business Daily Editor, Phil Borchmann, he was happy to share some insights. Phil, an Illinois State University Alumni with a Bachelors in Communications and Journalism, has been writing in a professional setting for more than 30 years. He wrote for the Chicago Tribune for a few years before he moved to Southwest Florida for some warmer weather.
Phil told us he designates time to go through his inbox, which is often overflowing with stories and emails from external communications teams, and determines which emails will even be opened based on the subject line. He stated that if the subject line is not enticing, captivating, or relevant to the types of stories he covers (new business, personnel changes, awards, nonprofits, etc.) that he won’t even bother to open the email.
Phil also shared his top 3 pet peeves with us:
- Don’t send .pdf files or anything formatted. He cannot transcribe anything so he prefers the news release or information be in the body of the email with no attachments or photos embedded.
- Don’t create a (lengthy) masterpiece. Get to the point; he wants the meat and potatoes (who, what, when, etc.) Make the main information as simple as possible and provide it as soon as possible, not three or four paragraphs later.
- Respond in a timely manner. When sending over information, be prepared to respond to journalists who want more information. It can cost you coverage if you are not timely with your response.
Do your homework and learn to move past “no”. Before you ever contact a local reporter, however, be sure to make sure you have the right contact. Familiarize yourself with the publication that you are pitching, the reporter and their beat (topics they cover), etc. That way, you’re sure to get the right info to the right person and enhance your chances of getting a “yes!”
Phil also offered advice on rejection for those times when it’s not the right fit – handle it with grace; not every story can make it into the newsletter or magazine (or on the evening news, etc. depending on who you’re pitching). Rather than get upset, thank the journalist, ask them what they’d like more info on, and follow up with them later when you have another story or opportunity.
Gulfshore Business Daily reaches more than 10,000 people per day! To sign-up for the newsletter, visit GulfshoreBusiness.com/Newsletters and familiarize yourself with the type of news Phil and his staff covers.
Want help with your company’s public relations or marketing needs from professionals? That’s what we’re here for! Let us help create a buzz about your business through our media relations with local reporters by contacting us today.