By Megan Crowder

Person highlighting on paper with a cell phone on topWith traditional public- and media-relations outreach there wasn’t the plethora of digital and social media available that there is today. Writers were pitched based on connections and topics based on articles in the newspaper and on the television. Since the introduction of the digital landscape, there are many more resources available to public relations professionals when it comes to media relations. It is much easier to find writers who write stories on specific topics because of the ‘database’ that is the internet.

However, a key point to keep in mind when it comes to both traditional and digital media is the value actually knowing the media contact. Forming and keeping a relationship is the bread and butter of all media relations. Doing your research and knowing the correct information to put in front of a writer is what it really takes to land a media placement or form a long-lasting relationship with a writer.

Here are a few pointers on why digital media is important to integrate with your public relations efforts.

Know your pitch and publication

When brainstorming a pitch topic, keep in mind the end goal. What is the goal of the pitch? An interview, feature story, etc.? What placement will satisfy the client?

Then, create a list of publications that the pitch fits with. If a pitch is about food and drink, most likely a business publication would not run an article about that topic unless it was actually business related.

Once a set list of publications is established, research each publication to get the look and feel of their work. Research their past articles and published topics to see what writers write about the topic most similar to the pitch that will be sent.

When finding a writer, think quality over quantity

Be as specific as possible when creating a list of writers a pitch is going to. Knowing each writer and what makes them tick is more beneficial than pitching an enormous list of writers without knowing any of their specifics. Here’s a check list to go by when researching a writer:

  • Who are they outside of work? What do they do in their free time? Hobbies?
  • What do they write about? Topics?
  • What is their position? Editor, producer, freelancer, blogger, etc.
  • Research a few of their past articles
  • What media platform do they use most?
  • Do their social media platform biographies match their work description?

Before hitting send

Once specific pitches for each publication and writer have been written, the only thing left to do is send them—but wait, there’s more! When researching media platforms the writers use most, a good thing to do is make yourself known by either following them on Twitter or viewing their LinkedIn profile. If the writer is active on Twitter, it is good to follow them and like a few of their recent posts. This way, when they receive an email they have a greater chance of recognizing your name. With LinkedIn, each time someone views a profile page the person whose page it is is notified that someone has viewed their page. Both of these strategies simply serve to get the writer’s attention when they see an email in their inbox.

Social media is a strong tool to use with media relations because of how often it is used by writers. Most writers are on at least one social media platform daily. It’s easier to form an informal relationship before asking for a favor from a writer. If there’s a social post that would spark a good conversation, go for it, that way later on when you’re writing a pitch to them you have something to talk about first. Writers are people first and don’t want to be spammed or constantly bothered via email any more than you do. If you do them a favor by providing in the pitch something useful to them and that shows you’ve done your research, most of the time they will return the favor.

Public and media relations can be done more simply and smoothly because of digital media. It’s all about knowing the facts, being personable and taking the time to form a relationship.