How to get in touch with a news reporter

As an experienced publicist, it’s important for me to understand the sometimes subtle differences in targeted marketing versus mass marketing. Targeted PR is when I’m pitching a client’s story with the goal of reaching a specific audience, such as moms of preschoolers. Mass marketing is when I’m contacting media that reach multiple market segments, with the goal of telling a client’s story to thousands of people at one time. When people ask me how to get in touch with a news reporter, I explain that they first need to know which approach they want to use. 

Last year, Nielsen reported, “American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media As trusted, third-party story tellers, reporters and producers have a lot of selling power. It’s no surprise that Media Relations Agency gets dozens of inquiries each month from companies asking us to help them get in touch with news reporters. 

If you have the right product or service, news stories can create a brand quicker and cheaper than any other promotional method. Most business-related news stories are no accident. Here are three tips for both getting in touch with a news reporter and increasing the odds your story will actually run. 

1.Make sure your story is relevant to the reporter’s audience. The fastest way to kill a media opportunity is to skip this step. If you want to reach a targeted audience, look for media specializing in subjects of specific interest to that group. If you prefer to take advantage of mass marketing, you’ve got broader options but the competition for time/space is also tougher. 

This is where persistence and experience become essential. Media Relations is performance based. With our Pay Per Interview® pricing model, we charge per story we arrange, not by the hours we work. We rely on our longstanding relationships with media contacts, and our knowledge of their individual needs, to co-produce quality stories for our clients.

2. Once you’ve found the right reporters and producers, be prepared to think on your feet. Your pitch should not be too commercial, and it helps to have a timely hook. If the station or publication has already done similar stories, be ready with a fresh angle. Always remember that you’re serving the media first. This increases the likelihood that you’ll get your messaging communicated in the right way, to the right audience.

3.Respect the reporter’s time. Producers and reporters are in high demand. If a reporter senses that your story will require more work to complete than the story your competitor just pitched, guess who will get the media coverage? 

Having productive conversations with reporters can be a lot of fun, but doing so requires an investment. Some businesspeople are shocked by the significant amount of time and preparation that go into contacting news reporters, and the follow-up required to make a story happen. And that’s okay. Because we’ve got your back. 

Most of Media Relations Agency’s publicists are former journalists. We routinely rely on our reporting backgrounds, our extensive history as publicists and our group brainstorming to get our clients the best possible media placements

If a reporter asks for something more to complete your story, we have the advantage of being supported by marketing strategists, content writers, website designers and maintenance specialists, digital advertising experts, graphic artists and social media marketing experts. 

Give us the opportunity to become the publicists for your product or service. Let us focus on contacting news reporters on your behalf so that you can turn your attention to managing other essential elements of your business. If you have a product or service you would like to see in the news, complete our online form or call us at 952-697-5269. 

Written by Jennifer Hanson

Senior Publicist Jennifer Hanson has been with Media Relations Agency since 1997. She plays an integral role in strategic media planning and clients’ campaigns. Jennifer has secured thousands of interviews and placements in radio, television and print. Her creative approach has earned her numerous company awards for excellence, and placements with top media outlets across the country. Jennifer has expertise in working with national broadcast outlets, and has placed her clients in such shows as Oprah, The Today Show, Weekend Today, Fox and Friends and others.

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