PR 2.0 Primer: Working with New Media Journalists and Producers
Traditional media outlets are, sadly, a thing of a bygone era. It has become almost an improbable proposition to start and sustain a pricey print publication, or an expensive-to-produce television show. Journalism is evolving, some would say dying; and we have not hit rock bottom yet.
With the number of major news organizations downsizing and/or folding altogether, public relations professionals have to begin to develop a stronger roster of new media contacts to get their clients’ stories told. As a PR2.0 professional, I am always on the lookout for the New Influencers: professional bloggers (many with journalism backgrounds), freelance writers who write for both the Web and print publications, and new media producers.
Though media database services like Cision and Vocus are great tools that still very much have their place, scrappy PR2.0 professionals realized long ago that Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter have made it much easier to find and connect with journalists. In the same democratizing way,YouTube, Vimeo and other free video sharing sites have destroyed the barrier between the would-be television producer and the audience, and WordPress and Blogger made it possible for anyone with content to easily publish that content on the Web. Producers don’t need tons of money or the backing of major networks to get a show up and running: all they need is a camera, a YouTube account and a great story to tell.
Which is where we come in.
New media outlets still need great stories and content! Not surprisingly, pitching new media journalists and producers is much like pitching main stream media; they both expect a high level of professionalism from the public relations practitioner. They’re both competitive and want to produce a great story before the competition does. So observing the basic rules of public relations and pitching will serve you well. But new media journalists and producers rely heavily on social media to grow their audiences, so be sure that you are social media savvy. Here are a few tips for interacting with new media journalists:
Speak Their Language. Interacting first with these tech savvy professionals in the social media space often yields the best results: try sending a message on Twitter or a friend request on Facebook or Linkedin.
Show Genuine Interest. If someone has erected a blog or gone through the trouble of producing a video series on YouTube for you to enjoy, it’s more than likely a labor of love for them. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Try reaching out to new media professionals after you’ve left a few thoughtful comments on their Web site or blog.
Watch, Read and Absorb. As you would with traditional media outlets, before pitching, be sure to familiarize yourself with the blog or video show by reading old posts and watching old episodes. New media journalists, like traditional journalists, hate off-topic pitches. And worse yet, they may out you as an incompetent PR2.0 professional. And you don’t want that.
Next on Mopwater: How to Pitch New Media Journalists and Online Producers