As many of us in the marketing, public relations and communications industries know, it's not uncommon for journalists to receive hundreds of media pitches every week, and, sadly, only a small portion of them are relevant to their chosen beat or publication.
So to help prevent PR spam from flooding your inboxes and to comply with global privacy laws such as GDPR, Meltwater has created a space where journalists can own their profiles and data.
This blog post aims to provide some insight into the PR manager’s workflow and thought process when pitching a story and monitoring results. We'll also shed some light on journalist’s reaction to receiving a media pitch and their decision-making process when choosing their next story.
What is a Journalist Profile?
If you’re looking to receive more relevant pitches from PR and communications executives, then creating a journalist profile within the Meltwater platform is a good first step. Thousands of journalists across the globe have created these profiles because it helps them filter out unwanted pitches and press releases by alerting PR professionals to the type of pitches and press releases they are the most interested in receiving.
Through the profile, journalists can update their basic information and add the beats and publications they write for. Since PR pros primarily search for journalists based on this type of information, keeping your profile up-to-date helps ensure that you are receiving content pertinent to the topics you currently write on.
If a journalist moves publications, which is increasingly common in the industry, they can update that information as well, allowing for a seamless transition.
Top Tip: Check those filters
In order to pitch a story, PR pros must first start at the creation of their media lists.
These lists should be well thought out and curated for each individual story pitch. When curating media lists, you should be doing targeted searches for contacts currently writing about your topic. Searching for contacts by beat only is no longer sufficient.
Journalist turnover rates are incredibly high, with many editors writing for several beats at potentially several different publications. PR pros should be searching for journalists based on stories and topics they are currently writing about. Using additional filters such as role and location will help you find the most relevant media contacts for your story pitch.
Allowing Journalists to Subscribe or Unsubscribe from PR Pitches
Besides being able to unsubscribe (or subscribe) to all media pitches, you can unsubscribe from a specific company that spams you with irrelevant press releases. Unfortunately, this is an all too common problem in PR firms, and so this feature benefits journalists by allowing them to only receive news from PR managers who have done their research, pitched a relevant story, and made an effort to build a relationship with them.
And, if they choose to, they are are also able to subscribe to specific companies. Say goodbye to cluttered inboxes and PR spam!
In compliance with GDPR, journalists can also delete their profiles and data entirely. In summary, a Meltwater journalist profile gives you total control over your data and who you receive story pitches from.
Top Tip: Build on journalists relationships
Even if you are not actively pitching a story to a journalist you should still be engaging with them.
Interactions on social media, for example, can help you become more recognizable. Stay up to date on the articles they are writing, and email or send a DM with any positive thoughts you have on the subject. A journalist who recognizes your name is significantly more likely to pick up a media pitch than a journalist who has never heard about you.
Any interactions you have with journalists can be recorded on the contact card within Meltwater. Leave notes with any personal details shared, such as a cell phone number. Email chains or phone calls can be recorded. Adding notes ensures that you and anyone else on your team has access to the same information, allowing you to help each other with story pitches.
Conducting Research on a Story
After receiving a media pitch from a PR practitioner, the writer or editor can use their Meltwater journalist profile to conduct further research on a topic and better showcase their skill.
Journalists are often presented with the difficult task of providing their readers with a different take on a story that may have already been covered by a number of different publications, but fear not. By using the My Research feature within the Meltwater platform, a writer can research what has previously been written about a particular topic.
A search of what has been posted to social media can also help a journalist uncover subject matter experts who could potentially provide more research, quotes, and color for their stories. By doing research through their journalist profile, the writer or editor can be confident that their story has a take that hasn’t been seen before.
Top Tip: Vet your contact lists
After searching for contacts, be sure to vet the journalists by reading through recently published articles and following their social media channels to make sure their tone and perspective aligns with your company.
Once contacts have been thoroughly vetted, be sure to save them to a list. Your list should easily tell you the type of contacts saved, but always add a description to provide more detail. As mentioned earlier, lists should be curated for your story pitches so never hesitate to create a new list if necessary.
Building a Searchable Writing Portfolio
Having an up-to-date, easily-accessible portfolio is critical for those looking to build their influence, and a Meltwater profile allows for this.
With a journalist profile in Meltwater, you are able to control the volume and quality of the PR pitches you receive, while building a publicly accessible portfolio of writing samples.
So, when building a media relations strategy and conversing with journalists, be sure to encourage them to claim their Meltwater profile so they can take advantage, start saving time, and building a strong network.
The media relations strategy process takes time and isn’t something you can rush. The more thought and effort you put in, the more likely you are to receive positive results. Using Meltwater’s PR Suite can help you manage this process from start to finish.