Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why "tip more, pitch less" also works for freelance media coverage

PR, media relations folks: Tip more, pitch less to reach reporters is among the most-read posts on this blog. That's in part because reporter Ivan Oransky sometimes sees fit to quote it when he's speaking to audiences of scientists and communications pros, most recently at the FASEB and NIH-sponsored #BasicBioComm workshop:
I shared the post with people discussing it on Twitter at that conference, and got a great tip I can share with comms pros from a freelance journalist, Bryson Masse:
Having been a freelance journalist myself, I can attest to that! Unfortunately, many communications pros tend to see freelancers as "more work" or less return on investment, a truly out-of-date point of view in this gig economy. And they feel the same way about tips vs. pitching: It's easier to blast-email or mass-pitch an established list of journos, or so it seems.

But over time, that effort really doesn't get you more coverage, nor coverage of quality. And every company or organization has stories to tell that are more complex and less obvious than a press release can convey. For those, you need to build relationships with reporters and behave in ways that make you a trusted source, not a press release vending machine. You can get a head start by using my 8 things to do in a media interview so you get called again. And in the well-worn "tip more, pitch less" post, I make the case for giving up some of the "standard" media relations activities that are labor-intensive and time-consuming, so that you'll have more time for these more fruitful engagements.

Media relations pros ask me all the time, "How can I build relationships with reporters?" I'll just keep saying tip more, pitch less, until y'all hear it.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Tyrone Islington Photography)

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