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    Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet to The Media

    Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes once you send a pitch?

    What articles get approved or rejected? What’s the dynamic between staff writers and editors? How can I expedite the approval process of articles?


    When it comes to storytelling, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that people rarely see. There’s a hierarchy in newsrooms, which ultimately dictates which pitches will be picked up and published and which will not.


    In order to do your best work as a PR pro, understanding these efforts behind the scenes can amplify your chances of being published in major publications. At the end of the day, we always like when people make our jobs a bit easier, so that’s what we need to remember when working with journalists. Understanding the process will allow PR pros to better equip journalists with the relevant information they need quickly. 

    This guide serves as a manual for PR pros to better understand the media in order to work more effectively together.


    How are Newsrooms Structured?_____________________________________


    Do you ever wonder who is in charge of a newsroom or who you should pitch a specific story to? Any idea what the difference is between a reporter and an editor, or a staff writer versus a contributor?


    Just like organizations have a hierarchy, so do newsrooms. The structure of newsrooms is important because, as a PR professional, one of your responsibilities is knowing who to pitch the right story to. For example, pitching a contributor might not be as effective as a reporter or editor since contributors have hurdles to leap through to get a story placed.


    Here are the three main differences between different newsrooms:


    • Digital newsrooms are more real-time when compared to print journalism. 
    • Broadcast journalism depends heavily on the PCR and MCR departments, which do not exist in print and digital journalism.
    • Digital newsrooms have more publishing opportunities when compared to print journalism.

    As you’re thinking about these questions, we’ll share more about the structure of newsrooms by department as well as the varying differences between digital, print, and broadcast newsrooms.

    Stay tuned for more information about the structure of newsrooms and why you should be considering each department while you build out media lists for targeted outreach.



    What’s the Approval Process on Articles?_____________________________________


    When it comes to getting a pitch picked up and an article actually published, it’s no easy feat. Insert: the help of PR professionals.


    We’ve said this before, but when it comes to the story you’re pitching, there’s a few things that you need to ask yourself to even gain interest from reporters. These include: 


    • Is your news timely?
    • Is your news unique?
    • Does your news have an interesting angle?
    • Is your news actually newsworthy?
    • Does your pitch include compelling data, stats, or quotes?

    All of these aspects combined are attractive for both reporters and their editors. However, it’s important to understand the relationship between the two and how you can amplify the process. To clarify, a reporter's task is to bring credible information that can be translated into a news article. A big part of an editor’s job is to ensure quality among the articles their team is producing.


    Here are the top three ways you can expedite the approval process and make your pitch attractive to both reporters and editors: 


    1. Do the Homework - identify more about the journalists or editors you wish to pitch the story. See the types of stories they write, how they write them, and what they are looking for.
    2. Design the Hook - Hook, or the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), is what separates your story from the rest. This can include: a trending topic, breaking news, new ideas about an existing topic, a counter-argument, or research.
    3. Choose the Right Pitch Type – Know when to send a pitch, press release, case study, etc. Make sure everything you include has value for the reporter and fits the news you are trying to share.


    Contributor vs. Staff Writer: What’s the Difference and How Do You Pitch Them?_____________________________________


    In order to land coverage in top publications, you have to understand the difference between the reporters you're pitching. When it comes to staff writers and contributors, there’s a significant difference in how you pitch them. 


    So, let’s clarify the difference between contributors and staff writers:


    • Contributor: A contributing writer is not exclusively employed by any single publication. They’re free agents, working independently and get paid either on a per-article basis or as per the terms and conditions stipulated in their contract. Many contributors are industry leaders or subject matter experts.

    • Staff Writer: A staff writer is part of the in-house content development team at a publication. Often focused on a specific industry or beat, these salaried reporters gather and tell stories to their readers or viewers. They report to their respective editors while pitching ideas or leads.

    While there are some glaring differences, they are similar in that they both stick to a niche, receive author credits and bylines, and can work off of pitches for their stories. Before you pitch a contributor or a staff writer, make sure to know your target audience, know your unique angle, and keep the pitch short and sweet.



    Reporter vs. Editor: What’s the Difference and How Do You Pitch Them?



    The relationship between reporters and editors is fundamental In keeping symbiosis within newsrooms. It’s also beyond valuable for PR professionals to take note of who they are pitching, their roles, and what responsibilities come with each. 


    Here’s the difference between a reporter and editor:


    • Reporter: A journalist who gathers information and research to share facts with their audience. Their two core principles are credible news and nothing but the truth. You can find reporters working for news channels, government agencies, newspapers, news websites, and radio channels.

    • Editors: An editor helps shape stories. Depending on the publication type, there may be many different types of editors: editor-in-chief, managing editor, assignment editor, or copy editor. Each has a slightly different role depending on where they fall in the hierarchy. 

    Both roles work to bring credible, newsworthy stories to their audience. Pitching an editor is a different beast than pitching a reporter. Before sending your next pitch, make sure that you understand these similarities and differences in order to craft a pitch that will capture the attention of the person you’re pitching.


    Because editors are incredibly busy, the strongest pitches are detailed and include the who, what, why, and how. This way, the editor won’t need to follow up to ask clarifying questions; they can simply accept or deny the pitch.



    The 3 Different Types of Publications and How To Pitch Them:  Top-Tier, Trade, and Regional _____________________________________


    When it comes to finding places to insert your client or brand, there are three main places to get media coverage: top-tier, trade, and regional publications. A strong PR strategy incorporates all three of these for maximal coverage, but in order to do so, you must understand the goal of each and how to best pitch them.


    Here’s a breakdown of what each one is:

    • Top-tier Publications: A top-tier publication or tier-one media covers well-known media and publication houses such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Washington Post, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc., etc. They have national reach and have high circulation.

    • Trade Publications: A trade publications are niche outlets focusing on specific topics like PRWeek, Coinbase, FinLedger, and others. Pitching trade outlets is highly effective for B2B businesses, such as F&B, manufacturing, construction, services, security, hospitality, manufacturing, and more.

    • Regional Publications: Regional publications serve a particular geographical metropolitan market. For such a case, you could consider focusing on regional publication outlets such as local newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Boston Globe, or The Miami Herald if your target audience belongs to such areas.

    Each of these publications have different goals and audiences, so you need to make sure that your pitches reflect that. For example, when pitching a regional publication, you want to develop a regional angle. Trade publications are great to showcase case studies and product releases, among other things. Top-tier publications are beneficial to showcase your thought leaders, the impact your company or client has on a broader scale, etc. Know who and where you're pitching in order to amplify your pitching efforts.



    How to use Editorial Calendars to Your Advantage _____________________________________


    For many newsrooms, an editorial calendar dictates the focus on content for a specific time period whether it be a month, quarter, or year. In fact, many newsrooms publish editorial calendars on their website with time periods to make it easily known when specific topics will be covered.


    Editorial calendars are an important tool for public relations professionals when they begin identifying news outlets and journalists to pitch.


    Here are a few reasons why:

    • Timeliness
    • Relevancy
    • Synchronization

    As we continue to share more about newsrooms, we’ll touch on how you can easily search for editorial calendars and start planning your media outreach in the most efficient way possible.



    5 Tips for Pitching B2B vs. B2C _____________________________________


    As you may already know, OnePitch is the go-to resource for pitching and media relations. We’ve shared countless articles on best practices, pitching templates, and insights from over 80+ journalists on our podcast, Coffee with a Journalist.


    We’re adding another tool to your arsenal to help clarify the difference between B2B and B2C audiences, publications, and journalists to help you craft the perfect pitch.


    Some of these tips for pitching B2B and B2C journalists include:

    • Drafting new perspectives
    • Ensuring originality
    • Refraining from being overly promotional
    • Choosing the right forms of communication
    • Finding the right publications

    These tips will help you, the PR professional, learn how to craft unique pitches, contact reporters using the right channels, and ultimately identify the most important publications you should contact.

    Stay tuned for more tips about pitching B2B and B2C outlets and journalists so your next pitch checks all the boxes and results in a response AND coverage.



    What is Citizen Journalism and Why Does it Matter?_____________________________________


    Citizen journalism is growing at a rapid rate thanks to social media sites and the slow decline of local journalism publications and newspapers.


    In short, Citizen Journalism is news stories created by amateur reporters or ordinary citizens who may not have professional training in journalism. These ordinary people are the audience, viewers, or readers who want to share their stories and concerns in the society in which they live.


    In this post, we’ll walk through the basics of citizen journalism, the history of citizen journalism, how it influences the news, the various types as well as examples of each, and the advantages and disadvantages of citizen journalism.


    The takeaway for you is to know more about this growing side of journalism and to enable you to be mindful of how you can take advantage of working with this group of journalists.





    PR From a Media Perspective: Industry Dive _____________________________________


    Have you ever thought about, or realized, that newsrooms have their own PR professionals? Believe it or not, part of their role is to PR journalism!


    While this may not be a career change you had in mind, the similarities between running PR for a client, or for a media company, are quite similar and full of ups and downs.


    Lucky for you, we’ll dive (no pun intended) into the ins and outs of journalism public relations with the PR manager from Industry Dive. Learn what it takes to run public relations campaigns for a media publication, how these pros provide value to their executive team, and what an average day in their shoes feels like.


    BONUS: get advice for how to pitch Industry Dive reporters and editors!




    Looking to learn more about the media and how to build better relationships with them? Read our all-inclusive guide to media relations, which dives into the differences between media relations and public relations, how to create an effective media relations strategy, and so much more.


    If you want to keep seeing more content like this, subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive PR tips, tricks, and best practices straight to your inbox each month. You can expect top articles from the blog, tips straight from veteran PRos, and opportunities to showcase your own thoughts for upcoming blogs.


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