Tips on Talking to Reporters
Do your research
When pitching to a reporter it is imperative that you do some background research before sending an email. Journalists get tons of emails per day so if what you are pitching is not covered in their beat or something of interest it can easily get ignored. One tip when contacting reporters is to reference their recent articles in your email subject or pitch so they know you are familiar with their work and have done your research.
Journalists are very deadline oriented, so when they reply be sure to respond right away before you lose the opportunity for coverage. It is also important to keep these deadlines in mind when emailing reporters, it is best to email them first thing in the morning so your pitch is at the top of their inbox when they come into work.
Journalists get thousands of emails per day, if you want coverage it is important to be persistent. Do not just send a follow up email a few days later but give them more information and new angles in your later emails. When conducting media relations it is important to be patient and preserve.
One mistake that many young public relations professionals will make is to include pdfs or word documents in their emails to reporters. Journalists will not download any file because they cannot afford the risk of getting hacked. When pitching to a reporter, simply copy and paste the press release into the email itself instead of attaching it as a separate file. In most cases if a reporter sees that there is something attached to an email they will just ignore it.
Know the angle
When talking to reporters it is best to think like a reporter. Ask yourself, is this newsworthy? Is it timely? Is it relevant? A good strategy when crafting a pitch is to stay on top of current events and trends so you can angle your story around what the reporter would want to write about.
Be clear and concise
Get to the point. Journalists go through thousands of emails a day, to stand out, make sure you have a catchy subject line and an easy to read pitch. Be sure to highlight important statistics and information within the first few sentences of your email to get the reporters attention.