By Sara Staffaroni, Account Supervisor, PPR North America
In some cases, capturing the attention of a reporter — no matter how relevant the news — can be a difficult task for PR professionals. If only we could get inside the minds of journalists to better understand their likes and dislikes. Luckily, there are organizations like PRSA Silicon Valley, which help to bridge the gap between PR folks and media via local events.
I recently attended a PRSA event in San Francisco, hosted by Bloomberg Media, where a panel of Bloomberg News editors shared how they like to establish and retain relationships with PR folks. The group consisted of Brad Stone, Senior Editor and Bloomberg Global Tech Group lead, Marc Milian, Tech Editor and Danielle Culbertson, Managing Editor of TV & Radio.
Following are a list of key takeaways from the Bloomberg panel that will help you establish mutually beneficial relationships with target media.
- It’s Not a Myth: Reporters See You as an Asset
I was pleasantly surprised when Mark Milian shared that not every interaction with a reporter needs to be transactional. It’s okay to simply introduce yourself and your client/brand. He noted that when it comes to news, publications want to be one step ahead of their competition, so if your client is relevant to a reporter, reach out and ask for an introductory call – or depending on the person, you may even get to set up an in-person meeting.
- Doing Your Research Will Pay Off
This should be a no-brainer for PR professionals — always do your research on a reporter or editor before reaching out to them. The editors on the panel all agreed that they are more likely to respond to an email if it’s clear that the person did their due diligence. A short and direct pitch that starts with something like, “I read your recent article on X and thought you’d be interested in X,” is like music to their ears.
- Everyone Wants to Feel Special: Offer That Exclusive
What’s the best way to get on a reporter’s good side? Offer them something that other publications don’t have. Brad Stone, Senior Executive Editor at Bloomberg, confessed that most reporters are competitive by nature, so an exclusive that is relevant to readers is a hot commodity. Stone also commented that while reporters understand the purpose of an embargo, there’s nothing worse than an exclusive announcement getting leaked by another publication, so PR professionals should avoid them when possible.
- Don’t Exaggerate Credentials: You’ll Get Caught
A pet peeve shared by all the Bloomberg panelists is when PR folks exaggerate the qualifications of an executive or source that they are pitching. Danielle Culbertson said that it’s something that happens often across all departments. One way reporters cross-check credentials is via LinkedIn, so whichever influencer you are pitching, make sure their LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and accurate.