Media outreach is about building a relationship with a journalist. Fostering this relationship takes time and some effort on your part. They are providing you with an invaluable, free service. Here are some suggestions for a furtive ASLA member journalist relationship.
Consider lead times: Each media outlet will likely have its own preference for how far in advance it would like to receive information for a potential story. For example, most monthly magazines prefer to receive materials for consideration 3 to 5 months in advance, newsletters often require receipt of information 4 to 6 weeks before printing, and daily newspapers may only need 1 week to develop and run a story.
Know the reporter: Reporters typically have a “beat” or topic they cover. Make sure that your pitch is tailored to each reporter you pitch and his or her respective beat.
Return calls or e-mails promptly: If a reporter or editor shows interest in your pitch by calling you back or responding to your e-mail, aim to follow-up with them as quickly as possible, particularly if they have an impending deadline. Demonstrating your responsiveness builds your credibility and positions you as a reliable source, making reporters more likely to consider you as an expert source for future articles.
Be sensitive to deadlines: Reporters usually work under tight deadlines and often need information quickly. For example, it’s ideal to begin your outreach to newspaper reporters early in the morning between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
One week before the event/announcement
- Send a media advisory to local television stations and newspapers via e-mail. (Do not fax!)
- Start calling reporters once the media advisory has gone out.
Day before the event/announcement
- Resend the media advisory and continue to follow-up with reporters.
- Check in with reporters who expressed interest for onsite interviews or having a camera crew attend.
- Distribute press release announcing the event to all media outlets. Bring copies to have on hand at the event and to provide to any attending reporters.
- Continue to make follow-up calls the morning of your event.
- Follow-up with television stations again to determine if any will be sending camera crews.
At the Event
- Have all members of the media sign in with their contact information for tracking and follow-up purposes.
- Introduce yourself to all media who attend the event. Provide them with your contact information.
Following the event
- Follow-up with journalist who attended your event to make sure they received all of the information they need to complete their story.
- Monitor the media outlets that attended your event for media coverage.
- Have ASLA conduct a local, regional, or national media scan.