You crafted an amazing pitch that has garnered interest from a journalist, now what??
At Aspen- and Fort Lauderdale-based public relations and marketing agency Durée & Company, we take pride in the perfect pitch and we know how to tell the right story, to the right person, at the right time. We have an extensive network of media contacts that we have spent years cultivating. Having these trusted relationships in place establishes our agency and clients as go-to resources, thus increasing the chances of gaining earned media.
So, when a journalist responds favorably to your pitch, what is the next step? What are the do’s and don’ts of the media relations world? In order to best navigate a potential media opportunity – whether you’re working with a PR firm or handling it alone – it’s important to not lose momentum.
Careful handling of these opportunities is imperative, as every word you say to a journalist, from the pitch until the story runs, matters. Understanding the work that is involved and what the expectations are can help you see a story through to completion. The following are the Dynamos’ “lucky 13” do’s and don’ts of media relations to make clients shine.
Do be timely.
Generally, reporters work on several stories at once, not just the one they’re in communication with your publicist about. Reporters have deadlines, and the sources who get back to them the fastest are most likely to be included in their stories.
Do be flexible.
Work with the journalist to coordinate an interview time that works best for that person’s schedule. Do not ask to reschedule the interview unless there is a true emergency.
Do be on time (or even early!) for your interview.
Be courteous of the reporter’s workload and be on time and prepared. Call into the conference line a few minutes ahead of the interview, and be sure that you are in a quiet space. If it’s a video interview, be sure that you are in a well-lit area with a plain backdrop, and use ear pods for the best sound.
Do give the media plenty of lead time.
If you know you have an announcement to make or breaking news, give advance notice of the story to allow the journalist the opportunity to wrap up other work and make time for your story. Most outlets require at least two weeks lead time and magazines may require three months. Waiting for the last minute does not work for most journalists.
Do have a media kit with approved marketing materials and imagery.
The media kit should contain press releases, bios, high-resolution images, and a factsheet. Making sure reporters have everything they need will make it easier for them to feature your brand.
Do tread lightly if you need to ask a journalist for an edit.
If a published story has a true inaccuracy, be courteous and gracious when asking for modifications. Politely point out the factual error and give the reporter the correct information with as many details as possible.
Do promote the story.
Once a story is published about your company, product or service, get the word out about it! Promoting the published story is a great way to show your appreciation for the journalist and ensure you’re considered for future stories. Post a link to the story on your company’s website and social media channels; draft a blog post about the article. Don’t forget to tag the journalist and publication. It’s also a nice touch to drop them a line thanking them!
Don’t make an announcement for every initiative.
Sending out a press release for every event that’s happening at your business is not necessary. Make sure what you announce is important and relevant to your industry and to the media outlets you are pitching. If there is a circumstance where you need to announce multiple initiatives, lump them all into one press release or media alert to make it easier for the journalist.
Don’t request questions ahead of an interview.
Every publicist wants to be sure the client is prepared for an interview. However, asking for questions in advance is a major faux pas. Most times, journalists will not provide questions – it’s very rare if they do. If you do not wish to speak about a certain topic during an interview, you can choose not to comment.
Do not ask a photographer to see images in advance for approval.
Oftentimes, media outlets have a policy against sharing images ahead of time. If there is classified information that you do not want a photographer to capture, it’s best not to show them that area at all.
Don’t tell a reporter about another publication’s coverage of your news.
The last thing any journalist wants to hear is that another outlet beat them to the punch on your story.
Don’t ask the journalist to see a story before it’s published.
As with photographs, media outlets tend to bar the sharing of story drafts, so it’s best not to ask a journalist to see their story before it goes live. This may signal that you do not trust them and they may be less inclined to work with you in the future. Writers or editors will fact-check the article and check with the publicist or client if they have any uncertainties.
Don’t ask a journalist when a story is running.
Once a story is filed, a journalist has to deal with several departments before it’s finalized. Don’t continuously ask reporters when a story is being published because, most of the time, they don’t know.
Always be gracious when communicating with a reporter, producer or influencer. These days, journalists are constantly feeding the 24/7 news cycle, or they’re writing for multiple publications. So, a good working relationship is key. Make use of these do’s and don’ts of media relations to better your chances of securing editorial opportunities.
If you’re interested in learning more about public relations to promote your brand, contact the professionals at Durée & Company. Check out our Dynamo Diary or Instagram page for more insights and #behindthescenes action!
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, cannabis and hemp, wellness and CBD, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; or visit its new, specialized cannabis- and CBD-specific site at cannabismarketingpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.