DEAR PR FOLKS: Please Stop Sending Us "Experts" And "Story Ideas" -- Instead, Send ...

DEAR PR FOLKS: Please Stop Sending Us "Experts" And "Story Ideas" -- Instead, Send ...

BusinessInsider apparently hit their threshold of being bombarded with “STORY IDEA” and “EXPERT AVAILABLE” from PR pitches.

What Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget says they’re looking for isn’t a preamble or teaser, but the actual goods – compelling stories and straight up quotes and outlooks on a timely topic.

Too many PR firms try get trapped into the conscious or subconscious thought process of advancing their client’s interest first. When in fact, working with the media, one serves another master and must flip that mentality upside down to have something of value to help the reporter do their job.  

Today’s PR rep and client need to be prescient and quick strike enough to tap into news of the moment and trends, providing a story or quote that actually supports the reporter's coverage.

Authoritative executive bios, while nice on a website, don’t do much to hook a reporter for help with a story. Instead there should be an arsenal of quotes prepared in advance or observations and insights quickly roughed out to offer to a select group of reporters when that perfect tie-in comes about. Why a select group and not a scatter-shot blast to a large media list?  Because context matters, and stories and quotes need to be tightly tailored  to the reporter’s angle and their readers’ hot points.

So, what's Henry and his team, as well as nearly every other media outlet, looking for?

More  from Henry’s article on BusinessInsider:

* Actual stories. These can be on any topic relevant to the stuff we cover.  The only requirement is that the stories be accurate and worth reading.  You can go ahead and mention your client's name in the stories you send us, and describe their products and so forth, as long as you identify yourself as a PR person and any clients you mention as clients of yours.  If you make the stories too boring and promotional, they probably won't satisfy the "worth reading" condition. Similarly, if you lie about your clients to puff them up, they'll fail the "accurate" condition.  But otherwise, we're happy to take a look.

* Essays or quotes written by your experts. We're sure the "experts" you represent are brilliant people with insightful things to say. But, frankly, we have no time to talk to them. We are always interested in hearing insightful things said by brilliant people, though, so feel free to just have your expert jot down his or her thoughts in an email and send them to us (or send us their blog posts). And send a headshot and bio, too. And we'll publish them--fully attributed.  We'll even link back to your expert's home page or company or or blog or whatever.

One Hearst reporter commented on this story on LinkedIn stating that the best PR practitioners ” …keep up with the big news of the day and will either email or call with a specific pitch, often perfectly tailored to my viewing audience. This is so appreciated, especially given the extremely tight deadlines we work under in the news business (and they understand those deadlines).  As a result, whenever I need an expert in a hurry, I will call these same PR pros for help…”

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Image Courtesy Pheezy