Media relations is often the bread and butter of any PR program, and at SHIFT we pride ourselves on being some of the best trend spotters and pitch and content developers in the industry. However, the path to PR is not always the same for everyone, and the tricks and tips we’ve all learned along the way is what has helped shape us into the pros we are today. While having your own “secret sauce” is great, it’s important to constantly tap your peers and hear what’s working for them, how they developed relationships with hard-to-reach reporters, and in the end how they secured solid ink for their clients.
We set out to ask SHIFTers in the Boston office how they set themselves up for a strong media relations day and everyone’s responses proved to be unique.
From entry-level to seasoned pros, here are some tips from our #smart colleagues here at SHIFT:
“Read the news! We can’t do our jobs well if we don’t know what’s going on in the world or across the industries our clients touch. Also, think about what’s timely and absolutely needs to get pitched first thing in the morning versus something that can wait until the afternoon.” – Emily Adams, Account Manager
“If you’re a junior staffer who is in charge of pulling together news scans for your clients, use this as an opportunity to build out media lists and flag rapid response opportunities to your team. A relevant industry or competitor article can turn into a great media opportunity for your own client.” – Katie Beaule, Account Executive
“Check Twitter! Get caught up on industry news and conversations that are already taking place. Then you can evaluate how to more organically integrate your clients into the news cycle. Reporters are more likely to respond to a story idea that has a timely hook.” – Kelsey Dielman, Account Executive
“Start by figuring out how to get your clients immediately involved in the conversations of the day. Scanning through the headlines of the morning is a great starting point.” – Parker Winslow, Senior Account Executive
“I like to make a list first thing in the morning of everyone I want to pitch or follow up with that day – then I can send the notes throughout the day and check each person off as I go. Sometimes this feels less overwhelming than having to stop my day in the middle to determine contacts, which can be time consuming.” – Christine Blain, Account Manager
“Don’t just check Twitter for news. Take the time to also check up on key reporters you already have existing relationships with or would like to work with in the future. Reading their accounts not only gives you a gut check for what they are interested in writing about at the moment, but also insight into what is going on in their personal lives to leverage in your pitch efforts.” – Becca Giller, Account Executive
“Before I even open my email in the morning, I take time to read some of the top headlines of the morning. This helps me to not only keep updated on what’s going on in the world, but helps fuel ideas for the potential “out-of-the-box” idea that can help our client take a stance on something new or build out a component of their existing story.” – Stephanie Epstein, Account Executive
“Take the time to connect with reporters, outside of pitching purposes. If you can engage from a non-media relations way with various tweets or topics, and build a relationship BEFORE you need them, I find that they are more receptive when you do. You also come across more genuine when you aren’t trying to push something right away.” – Kerin Norton, Account Manager
Our best advice for media relations? If your current process isn’t landing the type of coverage that’ll “WOW” your clients, then mix it up! Tap your peers, listen to what is working for them and try something new. In the end, you can tailor all the tips and tricks you hear in order to come up with your new and improved “secret sauce.”
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