In a recent article about media placement by Korisa Geiger for the Denver Business Journal, the author argues that media relations is part art, part science and part sales. I found this advice really valuable and relevant for dealing with the Indonesian media in general, especially when hiccups like last minute cancellations or special requests for personal financial gain are part of the routine of a public relations practitioner. Here are some of the key points that I would highly recommend keeping in mind at all times:
Relationships are key but it isn’t just about who you know – you have to familiarise yourself with the publication, the reporter’s writing style, what they like to cover and how they like to be pitched. Like any relationship, you have to build trust and partnership. If you take the time to know the reporter and what they like to cover, you won’t waste your time pitching a story they won’t run.
Clear and concise – to get a reporter’s attention, the best thing to do is to draft a pitch and make sure it’s short, clear and to the point. Include a URL, an image or something they can review quickly to determine whether they are interested.
Try different means of contact – don’t email a reporter every day and hope to get a response. You’re not looking to get a restraining order, are you? Then leave those methods to a stalker. You need to find a more engaging way of reaching them. Phone them, reach out with a tweet, start a dialogue by commenting on one of their blogs or LinkedIn discussions about a topic they’re writing about. Again, the key is to learn what the reporter likes to cover to be sure you’re pitching the right one with the right story. Once you connect with the reporter, be sure to find out how they prefer to be pitched on what day.
Familiarise yourself with the publication – advertising will not lead to earned coverage. A reputable publication keeps its advertising and editorial departments separate. If you want coverage by the editorial department, familiarise yourself with the publication, develop a compelling story angle and target the right reporter to whom you can pitch the story. Again, make sure you are familiar with what the reporter covers.
Yachinta C. Tahir is associate, Indonesia, at Weber Shandwick
This article first appeared at Weber Shandwick’s Indonesia website