We get PR firms and/or heads of emerging companies calling us all the time to “pitch” a story idea to us. Most often we never get to the next step because the approach to us is so bad.

In many cases the people calling us with editorial ideas know nothing about our organization, our objectives or our audience, have not taken the time to visit our web site, have never tried to meet with us and have not really thought through why the idea they are “pitching” would be important to us or to our audience.

In one classic example of mis-managing a media contact, we were contacted by a PR firm to suggest we do a major article on one of their clients, a very important woman heading a major commercial real estate firm. It sounded like a really good opportunity for us and for our Garden State Woman readers. When the day came to do the phone interview with the woman executive the interview got off to a really rocky start with the woman obviously fumbling for her responses. Finally our interviewer asked, “Why do you want to be interviewed by Garden State Woman?” The answer stunned us, “I don’t know anything about Garden State Woman. I was just told to be prepared to be interviewed by a New Jersey women’s media company.” Our reported suggested politely that the interview be discontinued until the PR firm and their client had taken the time to learn about Garden State Woman. We never accepted another call from this firm again.

If you want to get media coverage and attention for your client or your business, take the time to learn about the media organization being targeted. Visit their web site. Send for their media kit and, if you really want to set yourself apart, call and arrange to go visit them. See their operations first-hand. Get to know the editorial decision makers and be looking for ways that you can be helpful to them. It’s best to have this type of meeting in advance of a specific idea, person, product or service you are trying to get covered.
After your initial meeting make certain you do a good job of keeping the target media outlet up to date via e-mails on important, relevant developments with your business or your clients.
The media will respond very well to you investing your time in trying to develop a long-term, win-win relationship. People in the media world are no different than anyone else. They want to do business with those they know, respect and trust.