PR Fish Bowl

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

meg fryWorking at a top New York PR agency affords us the opportunity to meet and work with some stellar writers. Meg Fry is one of them. After a few years screenwriting and working as a production assistant, Meg chose to pursue her passions for writing and women’s issues by taking a plum job as the “Women in Business” blogger for a local business pub, NJBiz. She writes about women in all different industries, telling their stories and celebrating their success while providing news, tips, and helpful hints for “the next generation.” We posed some questions to Meg to gain insight on working with her.

As a writer who profiles local “movers & shakers,” what has to be part of a pitch to get you interested? Pitches, much like resumes and cover letters, should be tailored to each publication. We frequently receive pitches for lifestyle and arts stories that I’d love to write, but most likely can’t because we primarily are a business-to-business publication. I’ve most successfully worked with PR agencies when a pitch is: presented in a clear, “just-the-facts” fashion; suggesting specific business angles, but not forcing them; and including supplementary research material, such as press releases, backgrounds, bios, statistics and photographs. When I do write a story, I also appreciate PR agencies that carefully consider what more I might be looking for based on previous angles I’ve taken. Having go-to PR people makes my job a lot easier when I’m searching for a story or source!

What was the craziest/worst pitch you ever received? There have been a few PR specialists that have practically written the story for me in their pitch—what more is there left for me to do? I was even reprimanded once for writing about a company that had such a pitch and not “following the text that previously had been written.” Word to the wise, journalists do indeed have a “blocked” folder in their Outlook for people in PR, marketing and communications that are difficult to work with—sometimes the story doesn’t warrant the grief!

If you had one piece of advice for a PR pro it would be… Trust me, we’ve received your press release. I do appreciate one follow-up email or phone call, just in case I did happen to mistakenly delete it—but we have limited space in our publication and more than likely, the press release you sent just doesn’t fit our focus right now. Sending multiple emails a week and leaving increasingly irritated voicemails on my answering machine are excellent ways not to receive any sort of response now or in the future.

Okay, PRs, if you didn’t know before, you do now.

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