As a kid, every morning my parents would brew a pot of coffee and then read the local newspaper as they enjoyed their first cup of coffee for the day. My mother would start with the local news and my dad with the sports and then they would switch. Fast forward 30 years and how does your breakfast table look? Does the newspaper still crackle as you turn the pages or does reading the newspaper require you to turn on your iPad, tablet or computer?
While the number of people who read traditional print newspapers has slowly dwindled, the number of people reading the digital version continues to grow. According to an article by The New York Times, digital subscriptions now make up nearly 20 percent of all daily circulation. While print newspapers still have a decent readership (especially in small towns) and bring in the money with advertising, it is safe to assume that print newspapers are not dying just yet.
What does this mean for your company’s public relations? In reality, it means that not much has changed and it is time to go back to the basics. Many articles that I have read lately say that traditional public relations is dead and there isn’t any value in pitching a news release, but I would have to disagree.
For public relations professionals, it is important that our clients reach all of their target audiences and get coverage in both print and digital newspapers. So how do we do that? We write a news release and pitch it to reporters and editors. Sound familiar? While the evolution of online media has altered the way we implement public relations, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in the traditional.
With print and digital publications reaching a wide-range of readers all over the country, it is more important than ever for your pitches to stand out. Here are our five tips for effective pitching in a print and digital age:
- Proofread –Your pitch and news should be free of typos. Reporters don’t want to waste time re-writing your news, and if your pitch has typos, they likely will hit the delete button before they even open your news release.
- Research – Do not send out a pitch, just to send one. Do your homework first. What reporter within that publication typically covers your topic? You are more likely to get coverage if you pitch your news to the right person the first time.
- Photography – Photography is more important than ever with digital newspapers able to easily upload more than one photo. While a print newspaper will typically print one photo at most, make sure you attach more than one photo for digital stories.
- Make it Clicky-er – Digital newspapers are looking for stories that will provide them with the most clicks. In your pitch, make sure you explain the five W’s and the H (who, what, when, where, why and how), so that the reporter fully understands what makes your story click-worthy. The less work you can make the reporter do to figure out they want to run the story, the better.
- Follow-up – While it is important to follow-up with the reporter, don’t overdo it. Their time is limited and they do not want to be bogged down by emails or phone calls. Be respectful of their time when you follow up.
Whether digital or print, one thing remains the same for public relations clients. Individuals will not read your news over their morning cup of coffee if you do not continue to utilize traditional public relations tactics and pitch your news to reporters.