PR is durable and this can be a great thing, or a terrible one for your business. Building trusting relations with the right reporters can make or break a brand.
Reporters are on the frontline of an ever growing information overload we all face. A journalist most precious asset is his time and attention. His goal is to publish novel information, faster than his colleagues, in order to garner this interest of his audience, measured in clicks. The pace is relentless and the competition is fierce.
To get your media relations right, here are a few tips and tricks when approaching reporters.
Contact a reporter ONLY if you have some relevant news for him.
Especially if its the first time you reach out, make sure you are sharing information that’s in line with what this reporter covers, presented in a clear and concise way, and sharing something newsworthy. If you’re sharing helpful and timely info with a journalist, chances are, he’ll remember your name next time. It’s the beginning of a good relationship :
Give a reporter sufficient time to look at and cover the news you share.
Reporter receive between 100 and 500 emails DAILY. Sharing a press release does not guarantee coverage. Offering the news under embargo with chosen reporters can up the chances securing coverage, by giving reporters time to assess the news before it goes public.
Offer a bigger picture angle when pitching a specific story to reporter.
This is a massive time saver for a reporter, and can also serve as your biggest selling point. For example, if you are announcing the launch of a freelance platform, share industry numbers about the number of freelancers in your market, the predicted increase in independent workers in the next 5 years. Basically, make a case for your pitch by painting the broader picture with real market numbers.
Favor quality over quantity
What you need in the early stages is a ‘media footprint,’ so that you are discoverable online, with reputable sources to back it. One good article about your product, or your founders, which clearly articulates your vision and mission is enough to have a lasting positive effect on your clients, prospects, etc
Offer an exclusive to a journalist that’s important for your business.
Depending on the type of announcement you are planning on making, offering an exclusive can sometimes be the best strategy to secure the quality coverage you are seeking after. Choose a trusted reporter and make sure they commit to publishing the exclusive news you are sharing with them. An exclusive helps you better control the messaging as you are briefing only one reporter with the news
Reach out to a reporter with no specific news.
The era of media blasting (sending ot a press release to a large list of reporter) is over. Build a manual, albeit shorter press list of relevant contacts for each announcement. You’ll get better returns from a shorter personalized media list than a long generic one.
Bother a reporter if you dont have a good reason to.
Between 9:00 and 5:00 pm a reporter is by definition always busy and there is never a good time to reach him. Avoid phone calls unless they are needed, dont offer a face to face meeting unless you have a reason to (embargoed info to share, specific brief to give, an exclusive product demo for them).
Cry wolf, ever.
Avoid email subject lines such as URGENT. It’s up to the reporter and his editor to decide what news is urgent. Also avoid generic email subjects such as Press release. Between an email subject line “Press release” and “Facebook buys company X”, it’s quite obvious which one will get a better opening rate. Be clear, concise and to the point in your interactions with reporters.
Contact a reporter too early or too late with some news.
If your startup is still at the “two devs in a garage” stage, it’s too early to contact a reporter about your upcoming launch. Once you have a proof of concept and some users, that becomes your founding story and it’s much easier to pitch to the media. However dont contact a reporter way late, such as two weeks after a piece of news is out.
Share approximate or fake news with the media
. It might be tempting to share a vision of how big your company might be in two years, or to pre announce that you’ll be rolling out such and such feature soon, but as a rule of thumb, only share what IS. Avoid hyperbolic statements, or unreachable estimates. Once something is published in the public domain, you can’t take it back.
Clara Armand-Delille is a French-American, founder & MD of ThirdEyeMedia, a global PR agency that helps startups, scaleups and VCs scale their brand during crucial growth stages with hubs in Lisbon, Spain, Italy, UK and more across Europe, the US and Latin America. The agency has been awarded in 2022 by the European Agency Awards as the winner of the category “Best Not-for-Profit Campaign” and by Prémios Lusófonos da Criatividade in the PR category. ThirdEyeMedia’s past and present client portfolio includes Sorare, Celo, Atomico, Wise, EU4UA, EightRoads, 360 Capital, FoodCheri, Juni, Tesselo and many more.