Editor’s note: In celebration of Black History Month in February, PRSA invited prominent black leaders in the public relations profession to offer their views and ideas for achieving greater racial and ethnic diversity in the profession. This is the fourth post in the series. A compilation of previous PRSA Black History Month blog posts can be found here.
An old faithful in the industry, media relations mastery is a necessary skill for PR professionals. Social networking and other digital platforms are hot topics, but many clients still want their product or event splashed across headlines. As midsize outlets are muscled out by online giants like Huffington Post and New York Times, smaller publishers are forced to get more and more niche-oriented. Those newspapers and magazines cultivate large readership bases when content is developed for a specific audience, not the masses. And with $1.1 trillion in projected African American spending power by 2015, black people across the U.S. are a market well-worth reaching. What does this mean for your media relations campaign? Whether local or national in scope, black publications are necessary components.
Having worked at a black newspaper, I know why pitching these publications can present challenges. First, most of the largest black outlets have fewer on their editorial staff than general market outlets. You will likely find one editor or writer responsible for covering multiple news topics. More responsibilities mean they have less time to hear your pitch, and a smaller newspaper or magazine means fewer stories get published. The good news is that publications are hungry for content. Tighter staffs mean reporters only get sent out to cover major stories. Editors often depend on PR pros to feed them relevant content for their audience. Here is how to maximize that relationship and get your stories published:
Write your press release as a story
Editors and writers have less time to develop a story, so do the work for them. Mainstream publications usually see the press release as a jumping-off point – they will take the content and follow up with their own research or interviews. Black publications do this as well (for larger, or investigative stories), but are also open to publishing your full press release. Editors appreciate when they only need make a few copy tweaks before a release is ready to print. The more your release reads like a completed story, the better.