I am embarrassed to admit this, but I love Valentine’s Day. Not sure if it is the flowers, candy message hearts, chocolates or teddy bears, but I find the holiday kind of fun. Cheesy? Yes, but fun nonetheless. Maybe I just like the opportunity to spread the love.
In preparing for V-Day 2015, you don’t have to limit your love to people you know – remember that reporters need love, too. Short of sending them boxed Valentines like the ones you used in third grade, here are some simple steps to help law firm marketing professionals make reporters feel as if they’ve found a rose in their high school locker:
Be a matchmaker: Research to see which reporters are covering the topic that your source wants to discuss. Read the articles, and be sure that the issue you are presenting really is relevant to the reporter’s beat.
Flattery will get you far: Since you should be up to speed on the reporter’s work, compliment it! Don’t go too far, but everyone likes to know that his or her writing is appreciated.
Think of the pitch as a love letter without the mush: It may seem obvious, but make sure that you are presenting your source in the best light. It often makes sense to include a poignant, concise quote, but it should pack a punch and properly illustrate your point. Include pertinent bio information, but again, don’t make it too long. Reporters don’t have a lot of time, so get to the point quickly.
Don’t be a stalker: Reporters are busy, and good ones get hundreds of pitches a day. While following up is important, don’t be a pest. If you follow up by phone, make it very quick, and offer some new information, if possible.
Don’t wait to call: Yes, that seems to contradict the point above, but love is confusing. When pitching reporters, time is of the essence. News does not keep and, with today’s 24-hour news cycle, reporters are looking for sources now. When you are pitching reporters on breaking news, try to be as far out ahead as possible. Sometimes, such as in the case of a court decision being released or a bill being signed, we often have a sense of when the news is going to break. It frequently makes sense to share the source’s name and a few comments before the reporter is on deadline.
Don’t be a slob: Take a minute to carefully proofread your pitch. Misspelling a source’s name, typos and other careless mistakes make you lose credibility with reporters and may make them pass on your source.
Do you have other ideas for how to make reporters feel the love? Contact me, Stephanie Holtzman, at email@example.com.