THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
…the more they remain the same, apparently, in the PR world of media relations.
The Internet Press Guild (IPG) is a community of PR practitioners that focuses entirely on online journalism and news about the Internet. IPG just issued its Care and Feeding of the Press and Care and Feeding of Editors reports intended to update the traditional do's and don'ts of pitching journalists, and particularly tech sector journalists.
After reading the reports, surprise: I noted that you could apply just about every tip to tried-and-true mainstream media relations as well. These include: know to whom you are talking, e-mailing, or online chatting with; know what they have published; know both the news value and the value proposition of your product; meet promised deadlines; write in AP style with an extra-strong and terse lead paragraph; test all links before sending; and keep it short.
Not much new under that sun.
I did find some nuggets that seemed to me to advance traditional media relations best practices a bit:
· With tech news avoid hyperbole and provide the following information up front: what your product is, when it was/will be released, what platform(s) it runs on, what the configuration requirements are, a spec sheet including OEM vendors, how much it costs, and a URL
· Never send unsolicited attachments of any kind, and when following up with an attachment keep PowerPoint pitches illustrating your technology news to 5 slides or less
· Don’t assume the reporter wants an online demo; they usually don’t
· Do not send a vCard; rely on a detailed signature with your full contact information
Pretty much everything else was the kind of common sense that could have come from a media relations primer from 15 years ago. Which is not a bad thing from our point of view because it reinforces that despite advances in technology and changes in how news is produced, disseminated and consumed:
· News is still news (or not)
· Journalists are still journalists even if there are fewer of them than before and their media platforms have changed to include highly interactive blogs and a growing panoply of social media
· Cultivating, establishing and maintaining relationships with journalists, commentators, bloggers, moderators and editors remains the key to successful media relations, whether they are mainstream, tech sector, or moderating online communities