PRSA-MD’s Meet the Media Event was a success thanks to our moderator Bill Atkinson from Weber Shandwick, and panelists (shown from left to right: David London (What Weekly -
@WhatWeekly), Katherine Gorman (WYPR - @kgorman), Danny Jacobs (The Daily Record - @TDRDanny), Laura Smitherman (The Baltimore Sun - @lsmitherman), and Chris Daley (Maroon PR - @ChrisDaley43).
There was lively discussion all around as panelists shared their insights on how to best leverage traditional media in the Social Media Age. For the most part, all said they use social media to engage readers, encourage sharing, and drive traffic. Some of the takeaways on how to formulate and build relationships with journalists are:
(1) Personalize Communications: Instead of just pitching via e-mail blasts, phone them (or leave a quick voicemail) to draw their attention to a story idea; make sure your story idea is the best possible fit with the beat/subject areas they are covering. Don’t use the generic words “PRESS RELEASE” in the subject line — it’ll get ignored instantly!
(2) Treat journalists like real people. If you’ve met or worked together before, remind them in the message so they’ll have a point of reference for who you are. This goes a long way — especially if you’ve previously helped them out in a pinch.
(3) Take it to the next level! PR pros that get the best results have deep relationships with the journalists they assist. There are many ways to raise your profile. One suggestion made was to take reporters out to lunch. Keep in touch by sending them a “how are you” message every once in awhile (e.g. holiday card).
The biggest lesson here is to focus on personalized, “high touch” communication and phase out or minimize the mass communication approach. The more, the better!