I recently had the opportunity to attend the Business Wire “Meet the Media” breakfast in downtown San Diego, where reporters had the chance to vent about what doesn’t work, and what they’d like to see from PR pros.
1) Pitch more experts. According to Mandy Jackson, West Coast Editor for “Scrip Intelligence”, companies should pitch more experts. While she is bombarded with press releases, Mandy would love to receive more pitches pertaining to experts in fields related to her beat. An expert offers a unique perspective and credibility. Companies should also have an expert ready to respond to current events. For example, if a story on malaria just made the cover of the “New York Times,” and you have an expert in the field, offer that expert commentary to other publications.
2) Have a spokesperson ready when sending out a press release. The panelists all shared their frustrations with unfulfilled interview requests. Before sending out a release, confirm spokesperson availability and have that person prepare to distill complex issues to understandable sound bites.
3) Send your press release to the right media contact and only share newsworthy, relevant items. This point can never be stressed enough. Do your homework before you issue a press release. Review past articles to choose relevant reporters and outlets. Think about the publication’s audience and tailor your message. Don’t underestimate how well reporters know their readers; “U-T’s” Gary Robbins shared that he receives a daily analytics report on his web-based stories, and he is finely attuned to which stories attract the most attention and traffic.
Here are a couple more things I learned at the event:
1) Stay tuned for the new U-T San Diego TV channel this summer. Gary Robbins, the “U-T San Diego” reporter covering science, weather, and defense, shared some facts on the new U-T TV and what this means for San Diego news. This $3 million creation will broadcast on cable during the day and will resemble CNBC’s format of reporters visiting the anchor desk from the newsroom to share the current news. Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray “B.R.” Smith, past San Diego sports talk radio celebrities, will host. For more information on U-T TV, check out this video.
2) Branded business cards leave a lasting impression. At the event, I sat next to Eloisa Orozco, Area Communications Manager for Waste Management. She handed me her business card, and I was blown away by how “on brand” it was. Though smaller than the average business card, hers made a big statement with its paper, which was handmade from 100-percent post-consumer material plus wildflower seeds. The card can be planted in soil or will biodegrade when discarded. Great job Waste Management; your business cards are right on brand, memorable, a great conversation starter, and fun. I am looking forward to wildflowers in my garden soon!