Here at instinct pr my team (and I!) write up the newspaper reviews every morning and read through all weekly and monthly consumer titles and relevant trade magazines. This continuous exercise keeps us up to date with features, new columns etc and allows us to know which journalist writes for what feature. A cheat’s way of doing this is to sign up to www.themediaeye.com‘s daily newsletters, which provide you with a daily newspaper round up.
Journalists don’t like having their time wasted. With tight deadlines and calls from numerous PR and brands every day, it is imperative that you have conducted your research before picking up the phone – this is where you will get cut through.
To help you, we have created our 5 top tips when speaking to media:
1. Do your research
- The simplest way to do this is to read, read, read and familiarise yourself with the different sections in the paper and its writers.
- Before speaking to a journalist know what features they cover and their style of writing.
2. Tailor your pitch
- Different titles require different hooks. If it is a regional angle, make sure the information you are providing is relevant to that area.
- Broadsheet media (e.g The Times, The Guardian) etc write very differently to tabloid newspapers (like The Sun and The Mirror).
- Make sure you tailor each pitch to the relevant publication and its dedicated writer.
3. Know your own product
- Leave no stone uncovered when speaking about a new product. If for example you have introduced a new line to the shop, make sure you know everything you need to about the designer, prices, where else it is stocked, whether it has particular ‘green’ credentials – for example organic cotton etc.
- Knowing your product will aid confidence when speaking to journalists.
- National papers have a two-hour window from 8.30am – 10.30am before heading to morning conference. This is when you should talk to national press. Next window is around lunchtime and from 1-6 the reporters will start writing up the stories. Final edition goes to print at circa 3am.
- For general features stories, the deadlines aren’t so tight but do bear in mind that structure for the day.
- Consumer titles and trade press operate in a more relaxed way. Drapers for example, goes to press on a Wednesday, so the best times to speak to them would be a Friday or a Monday.
5. Follow up
- Do send a follow up email with the press release (see previous post on How to write a press release) and its information attached after the phone call.
- Unfortunately, journalists don’t have the time to reply to everyone so don’t hound them!