A lunch panel discussion, "From the News Cycle to Spin Cycle: What I learned working both sides of the pitch", reminded about 40 PR professionals in Seattle today how to relate to journalists and pitch our client/company stories.
Chris Elliott, David Postman and Marty McOmber-all former journalists- spoke to both new and experienced PR professionals about the dos and don'ts of making a successful pitch.
The meeting was a helpful reminder that we should always know with whom we're speaking. It was good to hear that PR professionals should be aware of how a day works for reporters in print and television media, that we should serve as a trustworthy resource, and that we should make our subject line and first sentences captivating. All this information, however, we learned in PR 101.
I was most interested when panelists provided specific examples of relationship building that they respected. David Postman, for example, shared that he was much more willing to read an e-mail that acknowledged a recent piece he'd written followed by some type of resource or valuable information than he was to open an impersonal e-mail blast. His example described the pay it forward concept, the moderator called it "making deposits in the bank of goodwill", but the truth is that it's all about relationship building.
The panelists introduced us to The Poynter Institute, taught us how reporters respond to media kits and print releases, reminded us that not all journalists are created equal, and even addressed the current unanswerable question: "Broadcast follows print-if print goes away, who leads?" [Mr. Postman said, "Everyone."]
Although journalism is in transition now, I was thankful for the new perspectives and timeless PR fundamentals that BuisnessWire's event reinforced today.
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