The Media Industry is Rapidly Evolving – Here’s What It Means for Your Public Relations Efforts
There is a sense of doom in the media industry as outlets such as CNN, BuzzFeed, Gannett and VICE announce layoffs, bankruptcy, or completely shutter divisions or entire outlets. For those in public relations, we know this has been an ongoing issue even before COVID left its mark, so it’s not necessarily a time to panic.
Though it hasn’t come without some adjustments and revised expectations, the good news is Berbay continues to pitch clients and obtain plenty of opportunities. We recognize that with outlets downsizing, those still on board are even more overwhelmed. They have less bandwidth to review emails or pick up the phone and are likely covering additional beats that aren’t in their wheelhouse. This is all while still being inundated by pitches and trying to keep up with a 24-hour news cycle.
So, what does this mean for securing earned media going forward? We’ve outlined a few things to keep in mind in your pitching efforts.
Lean into “newsjacking.”
In Muck Rack’s “State of PR 2023” report, 69% of reporters said that pitches connected to a trending story are the most shareable. Meaning, rather than pitching an evergreen topic, it’s best to tie your pitch to an issue that’s already making headlines. Reporters are now tasked with not only getting consumers to read a story in their respective publication, but also on social media and possibly other sites such as YouTube. Make sure your story will be of interest to the masses, or at least the masses within a particular industry.
Get to the news hook immediately.
Reporters want to open your email and read right away what the angle is. Eliminate the fluff and get to the point if you want to get noticed. This has always been important, but it’s even more critical with today’s reporters short on time and resources.
Know that time is of the essence.
This is true for when you’re pitching as well as responding to an interview opportunity. If you take our advice to implement newsjacking, you can’t wait to pitch your story until days later. Depending on the topic, even a few hours later could be too late to garner attention. We understand clients want to be careful about how pitches are worded and follow their approval process, so try to plan in advance, when possible. If you know a court decision is imminent or a major bankruptcy is happening, have a pitch ready to go out the door the moment the news is announced.
Once a reporter expresses interest in an interview, if you can’t speak that day, you may lose out on the opportunity. This isn’t always the case, but before you send out a pitch, make sure your calendar isn’t full with commitments that would prevent you from being available. Reporters are expected to turn around stories quickly and will move on to the next resource if need be.
Be extra patient.
When you do land an interview, allow for plenty of time with the reporter. Realize this may be a new beat for them and they could have more questions, or need further explanation than a reporter who has been covering the industry for a decade. Always do your due diligence on the reporter before getting on a call. Check out their recent articles and LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to have a better understanding of their background and how well-versed (or not) they may be on the topic. Offer to talk with the reporter again if they have follow-up questions and provide your cell number and email address.
Be willing to author bylined articles.
For the outlets that accept them, editors will be looking to supplement reporters’ stories with bylined articles due to reduced staffing. Yes, writing an article tends to take more time than doing a phone interview, but it’s an opportunity for you to share your full view on a particular topic and ensure that what’s printed is determined by you. Consider co-authoring the article with a colleague and lean on junior professionals to do the writing heavy lifting. It’s good education and gets them included in the firm’s marketing efforts early on.
Understand that digital placements are just as good (if not better) than print.
Getting published in an outlet’s print newspaper or magazine used to be the most highly sought-after placement, but with many outlets moving to digital-only issues or only having a website, recognize that print opportunities may be diminishing. Don’t forget that if you appear in a digital publication or on a website, your name lives there forever and will likely come up in online searches.
Keep your media lists up to date.
You always want to be sure you’re pitching the correct reporter for your story angle, but now you can’t rely on the media list you compiled two months ago. It takes extra time these days to update your contacts before each pitch goes out. Berbay spends countless hours tracking reporter moves and tailoring our media lists to make sure we’re getting in front of the right contacts. We suggest looking at multiple sources to confirm information – the outlet’s website, media databases such as Cision or Muck Rack, social media, etc. It’s surprising how many websites aren’t updated with current reporters, so double-check elsewhere.
Partner with a Trusted Los Angeles Marketing and PR Firm
Berbay Marketing & Public Relations has nearly three decades of experience providing law, real estate and financial firms with marketing and public relations services that propel your business forward. Berbay’s dedicated team has demonstrated success securing media placements, achieving nominations and rankings, revitalizing websites and social media, obtaining speaking engagements and more.
Looking to secure media coverage with Los Angeles’ proven Marketing and PR team? Contact Berbay at (310) 405-7343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.