How To Make It Through The Media Gatekeepers

Last night, WordStorm PR’s Sophie and Sarah were lucky enough to attend the Networx Event, ‘Meet the Media Toughest Gatekeepers’.

With guest speakers including Tim Burrowes (founder of Mumbrella), Cathy Murray (Senior Producer at TODAY), Tom Ivey (Producer at Fitzy and Wippa, Nova 96.9) and Juliet Rieden (Deputy Editor at Australian Women’s Weekly), we anticipated it was going to be an insightful evening – and we weren’t disappointed!

So what did we learn? I’ll attempt to summarise in 4 easy-to-digest points…

Videos, videos and more videos

Did you know that Australian Women’s Weekly were one of the first women’s glossies to create an IPAD app? Well, Juliet and Tim agree that they’re always looking for interesting digital content for their websites, particularly video interviews etc – it’s what readers are demanding.

Be honest, build trust

We all know the PR industry is heavily based on good, solid relationships with the media – so we must remember to value and honour those relationships to the best of our ability. As Tom described, some PRs lie about pitching to competing radio stations so he doesn’t get offended. This isn’t helpful to anyone, particularly when Tom hears an interview with the celebrity in question on Kyle and Jackie O! We’re all humans and being honest and upfront makes everyone lives easier. Even if your honesty results in a missed opportunity, at least the relationship and trust has been built upon for next time.

Do your research

It sounds obvious, but Juliet insists irrelevant pitches are still commonplace. An alcohol brand isn’t relevant for a journalist at Total Girl magazine with a readership of 9 year olds, okay?! Great tip from Tom – listen in to radio shows whilst your in the office – you never know when a random opportunity might pop up that will fit your brand perfectly.

And finally… an email IS better than a phone call!

It’s constantly debated and each agency does it differently, but according to last night’s four panellists (drum roll please)… journalists prefer PRs to email rather than call! As Cathy explained, her job is hectic enough without the added stress of a publicist attempting to pitch a story idea over the phone a hundred times a day. Cathy prefers to find a spare hour to read through her emails when she has a clear head and it’s easier to concentrate. Interestingly, many of the panellists mentioned receiving story ideas via twitter but all agreed that although fun and informal, tweets can easily be missed.

So what do you think PRs? Do you email, call or even tweet at journalists with a story idea? Is the future of pitching in social media?

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