Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Pitching the Media: An Attempt to Follow Best Practices

Carrie DrummondGuest Blogger: Carrie Drummond, student assistant, Flash Communications

Here at Flash Communications, one of my responsibilities is to reach out to local media once a week to let them know about major events at Kent State University. I work with Stefanie Moore, my boss; Emily Vincent, director of media relations; and many other professionals in charge of events for various departments around campus. Every now and again we ask ourselves if we are reaching our local audience in the best way possible. After all, that’s one of the most important things we learn about public relations here at Kent State. You need to know your audience, and you need to reach them the way they want to be reached.

Our research
Originally, we heard that our local reporters didn’t like being bombarded with press releases in their inboxes all the time. Also, when it came to event coverage, they really just wanted the basics to decide if it was something they wanted to cover. This is something that is heard about reporters everywhere. Make your pitches short and to the point. They don’t have a lot of time to work with, so make sure you don’t waste any of it. Over at Red Shoes PR, Inc., several tips for reaching the media are listed on the agency’s blog.

Our actions
To show local reporters that we picked up what they were saying about our releases, we came up with a new idea.  Now I send out a simple, easy-to-read list of events each week to members of the local media. Instead of sending out individual press releases all the time, this list compiles important events with brief explanations, along with price information, a media contact and a link for more information. It’s everything the reporters need to know in a nutshell.

Our questions
So now we’re wondering if our plan worked. Do our reporters appreciate the one-stop shop style of events list that we distribute? Do they have all the information they really need in that one e-mail? Do they even skim the release? If you’re a reporter, or if you’re involved with the PR field at all, please let us know what you think. It’s important to us that we showcase best practices, and this is an area where we could shine.

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