Changing Content Consumption Trends And What They Mean For PR

The way we consume media – in terms of formats, channels, platforms, and more – is in a state of constant evolution. For PR professionals, it’s not enough to be “on social,” “into video,” or “always on mobile.” PR teams need to note what’s driving trends in content consumption – whether it be convenience, price point, overall user experience, or anything else. Only then can we understand where brand conversations and messages make sense.

In the media business, we talk a lot about how brands can get into those conversations through advertising. But what about PR?  PR and other media professionals think in terms of paid versus earned media – but consumers don’t. They care about media that speaks to their interests. For an imaginative PR team, this opens up new avenues presented by current media consumption trends.

Mobile usage remains strong

Whether it’s earned or paid, more people are reading and viewing content on their mobile devices than ever before. Account Supervisor Alysha Duff expanded on this phenomenon in a recent post. Mobile ecommerce is booming, with 54% of millennial and 55% of GenZ shoppers saying social is their preferred channel for discovering brands. So for PR, there are opportunities to connect with relevant influencers, or to place branded content, or, where applicable, to take advantage of the growing popularity of click-to-buy mobile ecommerce.

But beyond that, PR teams need to step back for a moment and think about mobile UX on the media outlets they’re targeting, and to consider what the mobile experience means for overall quality of media. How does the outlet’s content render on mobile? Do its pages load quickly? Do ads or permissions interfere with the content? Media must be visually appealing on mobile, and that stands whether a PR team is strategizing for TikTok or Instagram, or for trade publications. As we all know, seamless UX just isn’t a given across all the industry publications where B2B brands want to be heard.

Podcasting is still huge for PR

Digital audio listenership only continues to trend upward, with nearly 75% of US consumers listening on digital channels in 2023. A lot of that growth is driven by podcasts – and the intimate nature of the medium, plus the trust audiences place in their favorite podcasters. That engagement presents prime opportunities for branding and thought leadership. PR teams are naturally intrigued by how precisely podcasts target audiences, and how varied they are in subject matter, tone, and length. And in PR, it’s always important to look beyond the most famous podcasters to understand which personalities have celebrity status within their sectors. Choose an industry, and you’ll find it has its own stars. Often, they’ve built their audience through a distinct voice and ability to speak authoritatively. That’s true even if they’re not the most senior professionals in the industry – or, in the case of someone like AdTechGod, even if their real-life identity is secret.

Where’s that “replacement Twitter” we asked for, anyway?

PR professionals and journalists alike are still grappling with what to do when a platform that had been a central conduit for information becomes a minefield of brand-unsafe content and unreliable narrators. It’s even more urgent when the platform keeps losing the users PR teams want to engage. In the case of X, formerly Twitter, no single social platform has emerged where PR pros can simply port over and replicate their Twitter strategies. PR leaders need to grapple with a digital landscape where media interactions take place on a platform that may not look like Twitter. This is actually an opportunity to shift PR/editorial interactions to a platform engineered to facilitate those interactions. Patrice Gamble, Director, Public Relations, recently told us about how platforms like Discord and give PR teams the means to meet on equal ground, and to work together to build shared trust and elevate storytelling.

Tracking trends in media consumption means we’ll recognize where messages can contribute to the conversation organically and intuitively. It takes dedication and imagination, but that understanding is necessary to successfully adapt PR strategy for the way people consume media today.

Three Questions A PR Person Should Never Ask A Reporter

As a PR pro, you are constantly communicating with reporters, whether it be pitching, coordinating interviews, or interacting on social media. Staying in contact with relevant contacts is one of the most important aspects of PR. But to maintain these valuable relationships, it’s vital to remember your role and not overstep boundaries. Here are several questions a PR professional should never ask a reporter. 

“Can we have the questions in advance?”

You’ve drafted the perfect pitch, sent it to relevant targets, and now you’ve secured a media interview. Your job is done, right? Not quite. Now it’s the responsibility of the PR person to make sure the spokesperson is as well prepared as possible, including any tough questions the reporter might ask. 

On the PR side, it is best practice to try to anticipate interview questions in advance. This is done by reviewing the reporter’s background, beat, recent articles, any previous conversations you have had, and the tone of conversations to date. Based on this research, PR people typically draft a set of potential questions and may even conduct a practice interview with the client in advance. This idea is to give them as much comfort as possible and produce a positive interview. 

Yet there’s one question PR people shouldn’t ask a reporter: “Can we have the interview questions in advance?” 

This is doubly tricky because many companies, including clients of ours, might reasonably want to know this. Naturally they want to be ready for the exchange. But asking this of a reporter isn’t a good idea. It’s not the journalist’s job to prepare the interviewee, and it looks amateurish.

Preparing for a media interview is almost like getting ready for a final exam – while you don’t know the exact questions, with a bit of research and some homework, you can anticipate most of them and, above all, prepare your own messages and story.

“So, when is this piece going to run?” 

Asking this isn’t terrible, but it can be presumptuous in some circumstances. 

If the reporter has made it clear that a piece is in the works and your comments will be included, it’s important to understand that media have jam-packed editorial schedules and tight deadlines, especially during news cycles filled with breaking stories. Asking a journalist when a certain piece will go live is a little like asking what the weather will be like next week – there may be no real, definite answer, because things change. Sometimes reporters will keep a story in queue for several months, as more urgent, timely pieces have to get out first. 

Rather than continuously following up with the reporter, the PR best practice is to be patient and monitor for it. Keyword alerts and a daily browse of the publication (which we should do anyway) help flag the story as soon as it’s published.  

“Can we see the story before you publish?”

If a journalist has confirmed that a story including your spokesperson’s interview comments is planned, the worst question a PR person can ask might be, “Can we read the story before you publish?” 

Most respectable media outlets will be offended by such a request. Journalists are objective, and offering the story for review can be seen as an invitation to edit or change it, casting doubt on that objectivity. It’s also presumptuous and betrays a lack of understanding of the journalism process. And if they do it for you, they’ll have to do it for everyone — not realistic even if they’re willing! 

Of course, a reporter may contact us to check a quote or verify information, and many publications undergo a rigorous fact-checking process for longer articles. But in general the reporter is relying on us to be accurate the first time. If you’re concerned about quotes during the interview, ask to have them read back to you in that moment. No one wants to get it wrong, which is why PR people work hard to make sure any information we share is accurate and thorough. 

Yet there are times to be assertive

Of course, there are times when a PR representative needs to be assertive with a journalist or push back with requests in our clients’ interest. It may be during tricky negotiations over ground rules for an exclusive interview with a C-level executive, or on the rare occasion when important information is misconstrued or inaccurate. 

A sensitive announcement or a high-stakes interview that impacts corporate reputation may require additional oversight from the PR person to ensure all facts and quotes are accurate. 

Reporters are helping us, not the other way around 

In PR, it’s helpful to foster meaningful and lasting relationships with relevant media contacts. A solid relationship helps ensure you’re top-of-mind when a journalist or producer needs expert commentary for a piece, an introduction to your company or industry, or a quick quote. Being strategic with your communication is key. Overly aggressive pitching, too many follow-ups, or a request to bend the rules will not make you popular. 

6 PR Tips For Staffing A Media Briefing

In B2B public relations, one of the things we do regularly is arrange media briefings on subjects relevant to our clients’ business. Often these briefings translate directly into coverage. But even if they don’t, these meetings are important. They’re useful for relationship building and keep the dialogue going until the time when a company executive’s quotes or comments can be used for a relevant story. 

PR people are nearly always involved in setting up these briefings, and at our agency, we always staff them as well. But to a less experienced PR person, this role can feel awkward. Am I in the way? A fifth wheel? Is this a waste of time when my client can handle it? The answer to these questions is no. A good PR rep should have a role in nearly any media briefing. Below are a few things we should keep in mind when staffing an interview:

Kick things off

It’s usually up to the PR representative to kick off the call and set the tone for the conversation to follow. At the start of each call or meeting, you will want to introduce the spokesperson and have them explain what their company does and what their role is there. Most journalists will do their own research ahead of an interview, but a verbal summary is a good conversation-starter. It also fulfills the important goal of giving the spokesperson a chance to reinforce their expertise on the topic at hand and to steer the interview to the story we want to share.

Be personable

People run late to meetings. If you’re waiting on a conference line and the journalist is first to join, it’s good to introduce yourself and thank them for taking the time to talk. Any good PR person sets up a brief for their client ahead of an interview, but it can also be an ice-breaker when waiting for the interview to start. That’s a good time to ask about a previous article they’ve written, current events or just how their day is going. Not only do you want your spokesperson to succeed, but creating a friendly relationship with a journalist will pave the way for future pitches.

Let the interview play out, but pay attention

If on the phone or Zoom, the PR person staffing the interview should go on mute once things begin. The journalist wants to speak to the expert or executive because they’re knowledgeable about a specific topic, so don’t crowd them. A good PR rep will listen closely and take notes on key points made during the conversation. Company spokespersons often share useful information or data we might not even know during a journalist discussion that can be applied to future outreach. Especially in tech PR, journalists often request data to back up a claim and the PR staffer will of course need to take care of any follow-up. We particularly like listening to briefings with C-level executives because they typically share information freely, have strong points of view about key topics, and will often say something we haven’t heard before.

Chime in if necessary

Occasionally a PR person will need to step in and make a course-correction. It happens rarely, but sometimes a spokesperson can go for too long on a tangent where they wander away from the question. Or they may divulge information not intended to be public. (This one’s tricky and must be addressed right away.) Conversely, the journalist may stray into areas that have been agreed as off-limits for a particular conversation. If this happens, PR pros shouldn’t be afraid to chime in and get things back on track. If a lack of focus is a frequent problem for a given spokesperson, it’s worth a media training session to heighten their comfort level and preparation for future conversations.

Follow up 

Be sure to follow up with a journalist after the interview. Besides offering thanks, you will want to recap the major points discussed and note any specific requests for data or clarification. You will also want to know how the journalist reacted to the information and whether anything was incomplete or unclear. As PR pros we never want to be overbearing, but if you’re expecting a story to go live quickly and don’t see anything, you will need to follow up again to get a sense of timing.

Offer spokesperson feedback

It’s also important to offer feedback to the executive or expert spokesperson who participated in the interview. We like to be constructive, but candid. It may be that the exec didn’t explain his line of business fully, or that he spoke over the head of a non-expert. Or, maybe he was thorough but could have gotten to the point a little faster. Constructive feedback will strengthen the relationship and help all parties improve even a good performance.

3 Tips For A Killer Media Tour

The media tour has been around for nearly as long as the PR industry. It helps build relationships between a brand spokesperson and multiple journalists over a short period of time. The term is a little misleading, however. It dates back to the days when authors would travel from city to city to promote a new book in a blitz of media interviews, or when celebrities push a film to 20 cities in an afternoon of local TV chats via satellite. Today most media tours aren’t exactly like that. They happen when we set up back-to-back in-person meetings between an expert and carefully selected reporters who find his story particularly relevant.

There are many reasons why media tours have survived so long. Maybe an executive is based overseas but will be in the U.S. for a short time. Or perhaps a spokesperson with unique expertise is available on a limited basis. Often these meetings serve more of an introduction than a formal interview, but the tour may also be centered around specific industry news, like a new product or executive change. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful media tour, whether in-person or virtually.

Manage expectations on both sides

Make sure the nature of each meeting is clear – whether it will be a casual background conversation or a formal, on-the-record interview for a specific story angle. There should be no confusion between the reporter and the spokesperson, who should be prepared with sample questions and background on the journalist (see below). During the meeting, individual PR reps may operate in different ways, but in general, the PR person is there to observe, occasionally steer the conversation, but not to have an active role in the discussion. Of course, we need to be prepared to jump in if things go off-course, or if the spokesperson needs help in reponsing or obtaining data.

Put thought into scheduling

Be sure to schedule meetings with attention to detail. If the tour’s goal is to introduce a brand executive from overseas to U.S. media, be mindful of jet lag and cultural differences — even on Zoom. Don’t plan meetings too closely together unless the spokesperson is very experienced or the schedule requires it. Be discreet when arranging interviews with publications that compete with one another to avoid awkward moments. Also, remember that no matter how much thought you put into prep for a schedule of meetings, things will go wrong in small ways. Journalists will run late or cancel, security lines for office buildings may be long, technology will fail, or Ubers may not show. Be flexible, build in extra time, and make sure your phone is charged and its address book holds the contact information for all relevant parties. 


Although some media tours are set up as a general introduction, all spokespersons should be prepared with the full background of the journalist involved, the media outlet’s orientation and history, and the interviewer’s goals. A sample Q&A is always advisable, even if the two already know one another. We typically prepare a full briefing doc beforehand.  In addition to helping the conversation flow, it’s useful to keep certain topics top-of-mind so the interviewee won’t be caught off-guard. The most successful media meetings occur when there’s a dynamic conversation and flow between the spokesperson and reporter.

After a successful media meeting, the reporter is far more likely to have the organization and spokesperson on their radar and to reach out for future stories. In this way, in-person chats are invaluable. We can’t wait to return to that old-fashioned way to meet!

5 Ways to Build Better Journalist Relationships

For PR people, few things are more important than media relationships. Ties with journalists don’t guarantee results, but they’re an important entree to getting out the stories we tell for clients. Good relations with reporters and producers usually means your pitch will get a hearing at the very least. Often it means you’ll get valuable feedback even if every offer doesn’t turn into a quick story.

With that in mind, here are five ways to stay on the good side of journalists to ensure that you build — and maintain — strong relationships. 

Always make it relevant 

When approaching media, it’s critical that the news you’re sharing is relevant to their specific beat and the types of stories they cover. The way to ensure this is to do your research. This can be something as simple as a Google search on a reporter, or browsing the publication’s website. Familiarizing yourself with their work will allow you to bring them stories that fit their beat and interests. That, combined with keeping a close eye on breaking news, can give you a serious advantage over others. Jumping on breaking news is a relatively easy way to get your client covered. The key is timing and making sure you’re not late to the game.If you wait even a few hours to reach out to a reporter, you could miss the boat entirely. 

Schedule face time 

Today, the bulk of media correspondence takes place through email and phone. And while this is convenient for day-to-day, when possible, it helps to put a face to a name and meet with a reporter in person. This can be anything from post-work drinks to a quick bite — even something like group karaoke. Getting together can help humanize you outside of a professional setting and help build trust with the reporter. Since COVID-19, in-person meetings aren’t possible, so Zoom happy hours have filled the gap. They’ve become a common networking tool that plays a similar role to build relationships between PR pros and journalists.  

Don’t be a nag

Journalists are often juggling multiple stories and tasks, and their job requires undivided attention. As a result, they may not respond to emails right away. This shouldn’t be a reason to constantly follow up. It’s best to spread out any follow-up emails or calls so that you’re respecting their time. Bugging reporters too much also comes across as desperate. Further, they could be even more likely to ignore you and not consider your ideas for future stories.

Use social media..but thoughtfully 

There’s no denying the importance of social media in today’s culture. And most journalists are active on various platforms, particularly Twitter. They use social platforms to share their stories and to comment on current events in the industries they cover. For PR pros, commenting, retweeting and interacting with their posts in any way shows that you’re interested and knowledgeable about the topics they cover. Connecting with journalists on social media is also a less formal — but definitely effective — way to get their attention before sending them a formal pitch on email. But preferences about social media approaches to journalists vary, and they should be made only when you know the reporter. 

Be yourself

When sending pitches or emails in a professional environment, it’s easy to abandon your true personality for something that’s more formal, or even robotic. In PR, however, it’s more acceptable to be yourself. Keeping things human can strengthen your relationships with media. For example, I like to keep pitches casual. If journalists feel like they’re getting an automated email instead of an approach from a real person, they’ll be less likely to respond and take it seriously. In addition, it’s always good to be transparent about what you want from a reporter. Don’t beat around the bush. If they feel like you’re leading them on or have some sort of ulterior motive, it’ll turn them off and they likely won’t cover. So when communicating with reporters, treat them in a similar (but, of course, appropriate) way as you would a friend.

PR Pros Take On A President


Has public relations finally won the respect of journalists? Sure, PRs and media work together, and we need each other. But the relationship between “flacks and hacks” is an odd and uneasy symbiosis. That’s why a recent piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about PR professionals and the war between our 45th president and the press was so interesting. David Uberti’s “PR Flacks May Be the Media’s Secret Weapon” outlines the recent confrontations between Trump and two of his favorite targets, alleged “fake news” purveyor CNN and the newspaper he calls the “failing” New York Times.

Trump’s efforts to discredit the press, both individually and as an institution, have a train-wreck type of fascination, and they’re often entertaining. But they’re also dangerous, both for the White House’s own credibility, and for the public who depend on media for news. Uberti makes a subtle but important point about the challenges facing major media companies.

How should the press fight back against a media-savvy president? The fourth estate has the obvious advantages of airtime and ink, yet it has been weakened by the fragmentation of its audience, the changing advertising environment, and a general cynicism among the public. Trust in media institutions has never been lower.

Tensions have escalated since Sean Spicer’s initial press briefing where he attacked the media, and working journalists have responded individually. CNN’s Jake Tapper, for one, hasn’t shrunk from calling out the administration for its own brand of “alternative facts.” When reports hit that he was a GOP target after a tough interview with Kellyanne Conway, Tapper fired back by taking over the #TapperDirtFile hashtag with silly mock-revelations, and it quickly devolved into a gag trending topic.
But it’s tricky for a working journalist to be returning incoming fire.  When you throw mud – even in self-defense, even with 140-character wit – you invariably get dirty.

That’s where the media organizations and their teams come in. We in PR like to talk about how every brand is now a media company, but every major media company is also a brand. Like any other consumer products, they stand for something. It falls to the communications team to protect the integrity of those brands, and to reinforce other attributes that help them stand apart from direct competitors as well as frenemies like Facebook and Snap.

When Trump criticizes Boeing or Nordstrom, their corporate communications teams spring into action; in fact, in boardrooms all over the country, PR people are running through crisis management exercises to prepare for a presidential tweet or an off-the-cuff comment that can cost days of executive time and a few million in stock market value.

There are teams of specialists behind the big media brands, too, and advantages to using PR experts if you’re under attack. It keeps their journalists at arm’s length, so they can focus on reporting and don’t get caught in the crossfire more than necessary. Even more importantly, skilled PR pros are strategic thinkers, and their focus is purely on internal and external communications. They’re trained to issue thoughtful public responses under time pressure and withering scrutiny, and to think ahead to the next move from an often-hostile White House. Like those raised in a campaign war room, they’re accustomed to today’s hyper-accelerated news cycle and bring to the task a deep understanding of how media work. It’s no small irony that the elite-media-as-enemy strategy deployed so well by Trump’s team was born with right-wing radio and honed by Breitbart News Network, whose former executive chair Steve Bannon is the president’s right-hand man and chief advisor.

There are no clear winners or losers in the battle between the press and the president, at least not yet. But the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and it’s good to see PRs earning credit for a job that’s nearly always invisible and where the work never really ends. Apparently appreciation for PRs among media rises when we’re working on their behalf. The next thing you know, they might even stop calling us “flacks.”

A Journalist’s POV: 3 Questions From A PR Agency


Whether you work in B2B tech or consumer public relations, most would agree that the advent of Profnet and HARO as online “connectors” of reporters and good stories has been a boon to the industry. While the goal is to get a reporter to include your company or product in a story, sometimes you get lucky and the reporter turns into more than a business contact.

We feel that way about George Jones, digital producer with the Raycom corporate news hub, which provides multimedia content for the websites of about 60 TV stationsthat Raycom Media owns and partners with throughout the country. A working journalist since high school with experience in broadcast, print and digital, George is a terrific reporter and not just because he sums up his personality this way — Likes: Dark chocolate, baseball. Dislikes: Pokemon Go.

We asked George to answer three questions, the answers to which provide insight into the mind of a busy journalist, sifting through myriad PR inquiries searching for the next great story.

What trends are you seeing in the news business that the PR industry ought to know about? Two years ago, our analytics told us people were on their local TV stations’ websites at the same time they were watching the news broadcasts. Now, they’re not even bothering to turn on the TV. If you don’t have a strong digital presence (doesn’t matter if you’re a PR pro or a roofing contractor) it’s going to be difficult for people to take you seriously. And don’t forget the cat videos! Haha! That’s my code name for any story that doesn’t require too much brain power. It’s cool that you’re pitching me a product that’s going to save the world, but don’t be afraid to put something whimsical in the pipeline. Our audience eats it up, and it’s a good mental break from the stuff I normally cover. People are visual. That’s always been true, but the way we’re able to present visual storytelling (which we have explored in previous posts) is much better. With that great idea pitch, think about something I can use to supplement my story, preferably data

How can people grab your attention in an email? As long as the subject line isn’t bludgeoning grammar and there’s some reference to an issue that interests me, I’ll take a look. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of someone’s ability to phrase it. Having said that, more people should do their homework. A simple search of someone’s name plus the company they work for provides a pretty accurate snapshot of the things they cover. Also, most journalists post their interests on social media. Some of the best pitches I’ve received have had keywords from the headline of a story I’ve written with the idea of, “Hey, maybe another angle to consider” — automatic hook! I know you’re probably not going to waste my time because you’ve already invested some time of your own. Plus, I don’t know everything, so suggestions on advancing my story or rounding out my coverage are appreciated.

What mistakes should PR professionals avoid? One of the biggest mistakes PR people make is thinking their sense of urgency is the same as mine. A good number of pitches I get are for stories that are not time-sensitive from a news standpoint, so telling me I have to jump on this right now sends me into shutdown mode. Be prepared to hear “no” a lot. Matter of fact, be prepared for no response at all. The follow-up contact is important to me, specifically the way they follow up. If someone I don’t have an established relationship with follows an email with another email, I’m thinking, “Yeah, this may be kind of weak.” But, sometimes try phoning! The phone is becoming the dodo bird, and I don’t like that.

And Now A Few Words About PR Etiquette

It’s impossible to tally how many interactions a fast-moving public relations team has with media contacts, vendors, clients, and partners on a daily basis. Let’s just say the number is a big one. And with each comes the possibility of misspeaking, divulging too much, or sending the poorly worded or ill-timed email. Now might be a good time to review some do’s and don’ts of proper PR comportment.

You need to deliver bad news to a client. The long-awaited profile piece in a top daily is negative. The promised story you worked on for months is not going to happen. The bad news from the CEO’s past has popped up again in a post that’s gone viral. Take a deep breath and before relaying the news, make a plan. Determine what you need to say, who is in the best position to deliver the news and by what vehicle. An expert I spoke to said to view the communication this way: The severity of the bad news should dictate the appropriate delivery medium — email, phone, in-person meeting, etc. The more serious the news, the more face-to-face time is needed.

Whichever way you choose to communicate, do it swiftly and document the communication. The learnings from the situation may come in handy in the future.

You’ve sent an email by mistake. Who hasn’t? Some have activated the email recall feature. This is usually a bad idea because the recipient sees that the note has been recalled and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out potential reasons why!  This article  lists the top reasons people recall: You send a message when you are mad or upset and then you realize your words were nasty or inappropriate and you want those words back. Or, you realize after you’ve sent something that it was addressed to the wrong person. The level of panic in this scenario can go sky-high if the message had confidential, negative or sensitive information in it.

The best solution from business etiquette experts is to cop to it quickly and apologize. A former colleague called the client right away and deftly deflected from the mistake by taking responsibility in a humorous way. Sometimes, however, a bigger gesture – a gift, a formal apology, or a face-to-face meeting – is required.

You’ve promised a media contact something you can’t deliver. We’ve all been caught up in the moment of pitching a good story and garnering interest from an important journalist. And just when you think you can reel in the placement of a lifetime, the writer asks for access to the CEO (who never speaks) or inside scoop on the big announcement. In your frenzy, you say yes and realize shortly thereafter that it’s never going to happen. So you back-pedal.

There are a couple ways to mitigate the situation. We counsel that it’s worth presenting a reasoned case to the CEO or PR team to see if any of their positions can be changed. If not, perhaps you can strike a bargain for something else to take back to the media contact. If nothing else, you’re faced with the meaningful mea culpa. The last time this happened to me, I was able to save face by giving the writer the next big story I had – and all was forgiven.

Want more? Read here to learn how to cope with some other cringe-worthy business situations.

A Journalist’s POV: Questions From A PR Team

One of the coolest things about working in public relations is forging strong working relationships with press. Recently, we were pleased to begin such a relationship with Modern Marketing Exchange, an online publication and weekly newsletter focused on innovation and new technology for marketers and filled with short, punchy and relevant pieces. Editor Agata Smieciuszewski was good enough to answer our questions.

How do you characterize Modern Marketing Xchange? MMX is a place for today’s marketers to come and learn about what’s new and exciting in the industry. We also send out a weekly newsletter to our audience of brands and agencies. My goal for the site is to bring the news that you may have missed to you in a condensed and quick way, with the main points outlined in a clear way.

What kind of stories are you looking for? What constitutes a great pitch for you? A great pitch for me is a current news-based or thought leadership article that addresses an issue facing modern marketers today. I want to inform marketers about what they may have missed and educate them on how major technology changes affect the industry. I love news that deals with upcoming major events (for example, Super Bowl ad season is huge for marketers) or new technology (new updates on social channels, a new Apple product, VR technology, smart cars, etc.)

What are the top qualities you look for when considering content submissions (byline articles)? I love getting submissions from people who want to contribute to MMX! I want it to feel like a collaborative environment where experts share information with each other. The three main prongs of my editorial mission for MMX are as follows:

Keep it short: People have less time to waste these days, and their attention spans are way shorter. Publications have to be mindful of this and adapt their strategy to reach the audience in the best possible way.

Keep it current: With the onslaught of news from all angles, it’s important to sift through to what’s really important and affecting marketers today. (for example, MMS is huge for marketers)  I want news that matters.

Make it visual: Images add a new and interesting element to an article, and can add a lot of information in a small amount of space. I love including images, diagrams, infographics, or any other visual elements to a piece that will make it more valuable to the reader.

 What kind of content do you avoid? Self-promotional content that serves just to sell to my audience. Nobody likes to be tricked into reading ad copy when they think they’re reading informative articles. I want to make sure that reading MMX is worthwhile, and that people come away feeling like they learned something that matters.

6 PR Pitches To Avoid At All Costs

Top PR agencies know the value of a well-crafted PR pitch to get the attention of an overworked and cynical media contact. Our years of experience have provided us with a pretty accurate “6th sense” for what will and will not get positive journalist attention. With that in mind, we have prepared a list of the type of PR pitches to avoid at all costs.

The overly commercial pitch. The media aren’t interested in an approach that screams the company name and all its selling points. Journalists are in business to tell a story to their audience, not provide coverage of every company announcement that comes their way. The smartest pitches convey company news and benefits “wrapped” in a newsworthy, compelling narrative that gets a writer’s attention.

The long pitch. The kiss of PR death. More than about 120 words and you will likely turn off a journalist who’s looking at 500+ e-mails a day. As a writer friend once said, if everything is found in the pitch, what story do I have to tell? The pitch has to tantalize and intrigue, telling just enough to whet the reporter’s appetite to learn more — ideally, through an interview.

The “too creative” pitch. This anecdote from a producer bears repeating, since we first wrote about it here. She received a pitch for a career website that included examples of how to be inspired by historical figures associated with Thanksgiving and included the line, “Pilgrims, the original networkers.” The same person pitched a story near Halloween about reviving a “dead career” which began with “rise at the witching hour.” The producer’s advice: not everything needs to have a theme. Clever writing and puns have their place, but err on the side of simple, clear language to get your points across.

The inaccurate pitch. Hell hath no fury like the deceived journalist! Be very clear about what your story is, what your spokesperson will talk about and when, and major details like statistics or financial details. We’re not above a little creative hyperbole to get interest, but tread carefully. This also applies to an approach that overpromises in any way. It’s likely to backfire.

The ill-timed pitch. The smartest PR teams research deadlines of all those they pitch and err on the side of allowing extra time. Think the way the media think. Print magazine? Allow 3-4 months. TV news? Just a few days usually. Online news site? Same day for breaking news. Avoid the frustration of being shut out by getting a good handle on media timing. And it goes without saying that in a time of major breaking news or unfolding crisis, it’s in bad taste to be pitching at all, unless there’s a legitimate reason.

#PitchFAIL. Probably the worst, yet most common, error is the pitch that goes to the wrong person. This can be someone who formerly covered sports but switched to entertainment months ago, or a writer who may have done one story on start-ups but primarily covers a regional beat. Job one in media relations is to scour media lists and keep them up-to-date and accurate. The best earned media placements are often a match between a great angle and the perfect journalist or blogger to cover it.

Now that you know what to avoid at all costs, get the scoop on what works. Download our free tipsheet, 5 Pitches That Work And Why. 

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