Today I had the opportunity to attend the Central Florida Media Roundtable hosted by the local chapters of the Florida Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of America. The annual event lets PR professionals sit down with local journalists and ask them questions about their outlets’ practices and how they prefer to be pitched.
While everyone I spoke to had slightly different preferences on how they like to be contacted, the same themes kept coming up as I spoke with the journalists, whether they were from broadcast, print or online outlets. Nearly every journalist said that what many would consider to be “minor” details actually makes a huge difference between having your news covered and it being lost in the depths of their inbox.
While some of their preferences were universal (provide timely, newsworthy story ideas; include a descriptive subject line with your emails and spell their name correctly), others were not quite as obvious and varied by outlet and reporter (include your news release in the body of your email rather than attaching it, submit your news using the form on their website rather than email, call between 1 and 3 p.m., etc.).
Besides making invaluable connections with local journalists, having a forum to learn these little details is what makes the Media Roundtable such a great event. A lot of our work with journalists is done over email and we don’t always have a chance to speak with them at length to learn about their preferences. But today’s event reinforces the importance of building relationships with the media and taking the time to learn about what works best for them. While providing newsworthy, relevant content will always be key, having a relationship with the reporter and knowing how and when to pitch them is just as important for landing a story.