Let’s play Jeopardy. I’ll take Media Myths for $200, Alex.
“Traditional media is dead. Old platforms are irrelevant.”
What are “things a self-proclaimed ‘social media guru’ would say?
An event convened by the Detroit Regional Chamber today, which I had the privilege to moderate, proved that what we now call “traditional media” is alive and can still draw a crowd. The advice session on how to effectively get businesses into news stories sold out. WJBK-TV Planning Editor Al Johnson, Detroit Free Press Business Editor Christopher Kirkpatrick and Huffington Post Associate Editor Kate Abbey-Lambertz gave the packed room of businesspeople and communicators practical advice on how their news could turn into actual news.
The crowd is proof that despite profound economic and technological changes, we still trust journalism to provide us with information and we, as businesspeople, still see great value in having journalists tell our stories in credible news outlets. To do that, the panel offered candid advice on what is effective in the current environment. Here are some fundamental takeaways:
-The journalists all said that email is their primary means of evaluating story pitches and they must be “hooked” by the subject line and first line or two of the body of the email.
-An editor often isn’t the best person to approach about a story. Get to know the outlet and who covers what before pitching.
-Package the story in the context of the news – How does it make news? How is it part of a trend?
-“Fluff” in press releases might make bosses happy but it makes the job tougher for reporters and editors, who have to wade through it. Avoid unnecessary adjectives. Stick to the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story.
-Understand the medium – TV stories must be visual, business stories must be about business, web stories must invite clicks.
These media decision-makers understand that PR pitches can lead to compelling, newsworthy content. But everyone must do their jobs for that to happen. And, in PR, part of doing our job is understanding that these outlets still have audiences.