Who is your PR Haro, and how to get article leads to your inbox

How is your company going to take the initiative to address the challenges that COVID is presenting? Specifically, how will these actions structure the way people work after lockdown? And if there is a covert strategy in place, how will the media know? The EASTWEST PR mindset is defined as one that is compassionate, optimistic, values-based, informative, and digital, and the SPEAK|pr methodology can be applied using this framework.

State of the Media

One of the tools for reaching out to the media is HARO or Help a Reporter Out, which was originally started by Kaunas and later bought and is being used by 800,000 people around the world. Once subscribed, you are provided with a list of all the stories journalists are working on where they are seeking experts to provide their valuable input. While providing a direct channel into the media, HARO also boasts a report entitled State of the Media 2020. This comprehensive report is available online and contains an updated list of questions to which journalists from America, France, Canada, Finland, Germany, Brazil, China, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore responded. The strapped-for-time journalists are receiving a considerable volume of stories, and 50% of them say they receive over fifty stories a week.

One of the tips mentioned in the report is to send journalists an email with a pitch, because email is the most reliable way to manage an influx of content. Due to the popularity of video content, another tip is to make experts available for video interviews. Right now, local news angles are incredibly important, especially since the media tends to be on a global level. Because the readership is still local, journalists are interested in hearing about how local businesses are managing a global crisis. These stories should be positive and framed in an optimistic point of view, especially due to the overwhelming amount of negativity seen in the news today. The last tip would be to remain patient. With the number of stories journalists are managing, one must consider that each report must be researched, and that takes time. 

Remember that not all media is the same. Some clients prefer to distribute their press releases as far and as wide with the same information and with input from anyone available. However, by the time it returns, it may have lost all of its edge. Again, due to the high quantity of stories journalists receive every week, they are only able to cover approximately 20% of those. If each story was 500-1,000 words, two stories alone could keep one journalist busy the entire day. If 36% of journalists prefer press releases, 11% like speaking with an agency, and 2.4% visit the company blog, that means that the most trustworthy source of company news is the spokesperson. Therefore, sending a release to their email accounts is the easiest for journalists to process, and by placing the key point in the first five words of the email, you can skip all the unnecessary blandishments. 

Why you should personalise your pitches to the media

One journalist stated that Monday is the best day for over 37% of journalists to receive a pitch so they can plan for the rest of the week, and 45% of journalists said press releases could be more effective if they had information relevant to their target audience. Press releases were often requested to be generic on the basis that they believe clients will think that the press release is standard. However, each media outlet has its own readership, which allows them to differentiate themselves. In the SPEAK|pr methodology, the P stands for Personalisation, and the goal is to add a personal touch to the content. 

The journalist can be seen as an intermediary. A salesman, for example, may have a media interview, and try to convince the journalist to buy a certain product. In the end, it becomes a sale or technical presentation to the journalist. While people may say is this easily understood, they do not modify the language used to reflect the understanding of the journalist. Some journalists in trade press have domain expertise, but that number has dwindled. In other markets, journalists will have different levels of preparation other than researching, but it tends to be the spokesperson with the technical and business-speak which loses the journalist. And so, it is necessary to be as targeted as possible with the information journalists are provided with in their press releases, and this is done by explaining why you are writing to them, and why their readers would find the topic interesting. 

A company called Telum Media in Asia has done a brilliant job creating a database in Australia and Asia, some of which are accessible free of cost, and some with a subscription, or a freemium model, and these can provide an idea of what the media is looking for. It has already been stated that journalists are seeking stories of how COVID has impacted people’s lives and companies. Thus, it is imperative to reflect on the own company and pay attention to people’s stories. With SPEAK|pr, how can you apply Storification, Personalization, Amplification, Engagement, and Knowing to create a narrative around what your business is doing?

Customization is crucial as it ensures that products are still relevant in the post-COVID era. So, how will your company manage to not only continue, but to thrive? Remember that it is necessary to communicate with your audience through journalists by sending accurate and tailored messages that provide reassurance, information, and optimism. How is your company creating a new iteration? And once you have that defined, how will you use press releases to spread your message to your target audience? Leadership now requires spreading a sense of hope that the team can get through this together, albeit not physically. 

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