Monday, November 01, 2010

Keep Pitching! and other Lessons Learned from Assignment Editors

Recently Kyle, Bryan and I represented CHEN at a Publicity Club of New England event where we learned what resonates with and how best to approach pitching broadcast media. “Securing TV Coverage in a Major Market,” moderated by Fred Kocher, an ex-ABC anchor and news director, featured managers and editors from local television stations providing insights on how to make news stand out in a competitive market.

During a question-and-answer forum, Jack Auresto, planning manager at FOX 25; Lauren Bettencourt, managing editor at Local News Service (WBZ and FOX25); Linda Olsen, news assignment editor at NECN; and Joe Roche, news assignment manager at WCVB; discussed what public relations professionals can do to effectively secure media interest and coverage. One helpful tip that the speakers offered was to ensure a unique and interesting subject line. The panelists noted that they spend a huge chunk of their time wading through hundreds of daily emails and though many may contain terrific story angles, subject lines that just read “Press Release” won’t garner the attention – and perhaps the coverage – they deserve.

Some other themes that were touched upon were: keeping emails succinct, but content rich – i.e. contact, location, date/time and brief summary; editors maintain and rely on a database of expert sources; continuing to pitch – even if you’ve never gotten a hit (“you really never know when we might need your news!” said one of the speakers); and building a relationship/establishing name recognition is key. The ultimate message that the panelists conveyed was that they really do appreciate and depend upon PR, but they are often barraged with so much information that they can’t possibly respond to every pitch.

So PR professionals, keep pitching, ensure that the editors have your expert sources and their areas of expertise on file and don’t forget to make those subject lines compelling!

Special thank you to the Pub Club for organizing an informative and fun evening.

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