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Media Follow-Up Tips 2018-09-04T15:46:56+00:00




Media Follow-Up Tips

  1. Preparation

    • Re-read your release to make sure you understand the key message
    • Think like a Reporter

      Separate real news from hyperbole about your company – Don’t tell the reporter that your new product is going to change the world, tell her that this new product has something that will benefit people in a meaningful way.

      Be able to deliver a story angle that will be of interest to readers.

      Example – If a store owner is widening her aisles – this is not a news story. If she is widening the aisles to accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act, this may be a story about the impact of legislation on businesses. If the owner is widening his aisles to accommodate people with disabilities because this is a new market for them, that is a story with local interest.

  2. Know your contact

    • Read your local paper and look for articles that are similar to what you are trying to pitch and note which reporter wrote the article.
    • Contact the paper looking specifically for that reporter or editor. Phone numbers are often listed in the paper or on their website. If you reach a receptionist, confirm that person that the reporter is still in the same position.
  3. When you make the call

    • Plan around deadlines.

      From about 2 p.m. on, newsrooms are a whirlwind of activity focused primarily on their current edition. Any phone call that does not have to do with today’s story may be annoying. The best time to reach a reporter is between 10 a.m. and Noon.

    • When you reach the reporter directly:

      DON’T call to “see if they got the release” – This is an immediate turn-off for reporters and editors, who are inundated with emails, faxes and phone calls.

      DON’T start pitching immediately – Be polite and start with something like “Hi Mr. Connors, my name is Brian Smith and I have a story idea that you might find interesting. Is this a good time to talk?” or “Are you the person that would handle stories about (new products, new businesses, business trends)? If you get a yes, start with a story summary; if you get a no, find out if there is a better time.

      DO present them with what they want to hear, which is a relevant story that their readership will find interesting – not an advertisement. Editors don’t want to know that you own a new business in town; they want to know that it’s the first of its kind or it will cater to a specific population such as the elderly or minorities.

      DO offer yourself as a resource or expert on stories that may come up in the future and commit to the idea that if they call, you will respond immediately. Reporters love to have reliable sources.

    • If you don’t reach a reporter:

      Feel free to make a concise pitch on their voice mail. Let them know that you will follow up at a later time, but if they are interested, they can reach you directly at your phone number.

  4. Follow up

    • If the reporter expresses interest:

      Be sure to invite them down to your place of business or to watch you work or send them more information.