How to become BFFs with a reporter (and other helpful tips)

As PR pros, we make to-do lists for our clients every day: create a press release, pitch media, research award opportunities, build press lists, (remember to breathe), draft a byline, etc. But one thing that can make these sometimes-daunting tasks easier is having lasting relationships with reporters. Sure, you can send a stellar product review pitch to a fashion reporter, but it’s often what you do after you press send on your email that leaves a lasting impression on reporters.

 

Creating mutually beneficial relationships with media members, especially local, can mean the difference between an ignored email and a response within minutes. In the PR world, it’s essential to have these types of relationship with reporters. The tips below are meant to help create strong, long-lasting relationships with media

 

Do what you say.

“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.” While we’ve all heard this cliché a few hundred times in our lives, it’s still applicable in almost all settings. When you propose something to a reporter (an interview, photos, b-roll, etc.), make sure you can deliver. Keeping these types of promises will help to build trust with reporters. The same principle applies to being open and honest. If a reporter comes to you with a handful of requests, but you aren’t sure if you can’t make them all happen, tell the reporter that; you’ll see what you can do and keep them as updated as possible. Following through with what you say and promise will help you land some brownie points with media.

 

Acknowledge reporters as individuals.

Reporters are people, too! When sending out pitches, make sure to find out more about them – what beat do they cover? What are their hobbies? What stories have they written in the past (and would they write about your topic)? Familiarizing yourself with the reporter you’re about to pitch will help determine the tone of your email. Do your research before blasting every reporter under the sun with your pitch. And please, please personalize your pitch – that simple gesture can go a long way!

 

Exceed expectations.

After you’ve started the conversation with a reporter and have had back and forth communication, don’t wait around for a reporter to request something – go the extra mile and offer up additional items to help make their lives easier. Think they’re going to want a photo with the award recognition you sent over? Or links to websites/social channels? Be one step ahead of the reporter, and be prepared with additional requests they might make. Answering a reporter’s request before it’s asked shows you’re on your A-game.

 

At Dittoe PR, we set ourselves apart from our competition by taking the time to get to know local and national media. It might seem stringent at times, but our results show that it pays off in the long run. Request a consult today!

Want to jump-start your public relations career? Apply for Dittoe PR’s Spring internship program!

If you’re interested in experiencing PR agency life and gaining real-world knowledge and experience, then Dittoe Public Relations may be the place for you! We’re hiring public relations interns for spring semester 2018, and we want you to apply!

 

Here’s what you need to know:

Dittoe PR interns are responsible for assisting with the execution of strategic public relations and social media initiatives and contributing to the success of the firm’s clients, which span multiple industries. The internship position is an opportunity for detail-oriented, self-starters to develop a well-rounded public relations skillset in an energetic and challenging environment. The ideal candidate should have strong communication skills (both verbal and written), initiative, creativity, high energy and an outgoing personality. Interns will gain experience in media relations, research and analysis, reporting, writing and more.

 

Interns will be mentored by an intern director and work closely with the firm’s entire staff, from account coordinators to the company’s partners. While the intern director will help prioritize tasks, interns should feel comfortable juggling multiple projects and deadlines.

 

Responsibilities:

We are looking for paid interns to work with us on a wide variety of client projects, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting content including press releases, media advisories, media pitches, social media posts, byline articles, blog posts, monthly reports and other materials as directed
  • Carrying out special event planning tasks as outlined by the intern director
  • Attending and participating in agency meetings, training sessions, presentations, and brainstorming sessions
  • Handling research and analysis projects in support of client objectives as needed
  • Delivering client-ready materials for each project assignment
  • Researching and developing comprehensive press lists for local, national, and trade media
  • Assisting with client, business development and management projects as needed
  • Assisting with administrative duties as assigned by staff

 

Qualifications:

  • Actively enrolled in or a recent graduate of a university journalism, public relations, strategic communications, marketing, advertising, or other related program
  • Previous professional and/or relevant internship experience (public relations experience is a plus)
  • An understanding of basic journalism and media relations skills
  • Solid, versatile writing skills in both creative and technical fields
  • An ability to be professional and personable in written and verbal communication
  • Demonstrates attention to detail and good judgment
  • Smart, creative, assertive, and innovative individual who thrives in an extremely fast-paced environment
  • Flexible and willing to collaborate with teams
  • Proven ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks and competing deadlines
  • Knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

 

To apply, send a cover letter, resume with references, and three varying writing samples to Rachel Huffman at rachel [at] dittoepr [dot] com.

 

No phone calls please. Applications must be submitted by 5 P.M. EST on Friday, October 20.

5 Ways to Make Your Emails Stand Out

Whether you’re looking to differentiate an email marketing campaign or pitch a story idea to a reporter, distinction is key. The average worker receives 122 emails per day, so it’s no wonder some emails go unopened. While there is no guaranteed formula to ensure your emails will be read, there are a few techniques to boost your open rates.

Here are five tips to make your emails stand out among the rest:

 

  1. Personalize, personalize, personalize!

What is one surefire way to catch a person’s eye? Their own name, of course! A great way to warrant a successful email is to personalize it, however, this personalization is two-fold.

First, you want to make sure some of the personalization is noticeable before the email is ever opened, which could mean a number of things. Perhaps you include the individual’s name in the subject line or perhaps you include a personalized message in the first line of the email so it can be read before it’s ever clicked-on.

Another great option for personalized emails is to make the body content tailored and memorable. Due to the number of emails in our inbox each day, it’s not difficult for one to spot a generic email blasted out to dozens of others. To change this, mention something that is of value or interest to your reader to peak curiosity, or even reference their previous work when communicating with reporters. Whatever you do, make sure your email is adapted enough to make the receiver feel as if they are the only recipient of your email (even if they aren’t).

 

  1. Send emails during atypical hours

While no one wants to read a work or business-related email on a Saturday, studies have found that open rates for emails sent on the weekends are higher than at other times during the week. For instance, an email sent on a Saturday has a 7 percent higher chance of being opened than an email sent on a Tuesday.

Next time you send out important emails, try sending them out at different hours to see if you find an increase in your open rates.

 

  1. Focus on consistency

The truth of the matter is not everyone will open your emails. While someone may open your email the first time they receive it, they may not with the next one and vice versa. However, the more frequently you send emails, the more likely people will be to open them. In fact, many people are unlikely to open an email from an unfamiliar sender.

For email marketing campaigns or larger groups, you may want to try sending emails at a consistent time to boost credibility, while for individuals, such as reporters or sales prospects, consistency may mean following-up several times before you ever hear back. Keep in mind that many individual’s inboxes are bogged down with dozens of emails per day, so if you haven’t heard back – you’re likely not bothering them by sending them another email.

 

  1. Serve a purpose

The absolute worst thing you can do when sending an email is to send something that lacks purpose. Not only do you want to guarantee purpose in your email content, but the call to action should also be evident towards the beginning – no one wants to dig to find it.

Furthermore, the purpose of your emails should also be pertinent to recipients. In fact, the purpose should be tailored towards them. If individuals can’t find relevant meaning in an email, chances are they will not interact with it. Identify this purpose prior to ever sending an email – and make sure it is evident throughout.

One way to ensure purpose is captured is to include a call-to-action. What should the reader do after they read your email? Be sure to let them know (or ask nicely) what their next steps should be.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to highlight

Finally, don’t stray away from accenting portions of an email, such as bolding, underlining or highlighting information throughout. The likelihood that your reader will read your email in its entirety is very slim, however, by stressing the important aspects of your email you can help draw attention to what you really want them to know.

By utilizing these email techniques, you can help to boost your email success rates, as well as receive the results you set out to achieve in the first place. Inboxes can get cluttered, but that doesn’t mean your email should go unnoticed.

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