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This Is What Journalists DO And DO NOT Want Right Now

This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now

Straight-Forward Answers From the Media

Who do businesses, entrepreneurs, and PR professionals generally turn to when they have a question related to “how to get press”?

Typically, PR agencies and/or other publicists.

Which isn’t wrong… but amongst all the madness that is happening in the world right now, I decided I wanted to cut out the “middle-man” and head straight to the source.

YUP, this PR girl decided to straight-up ask journalists and editors themselves to help set the record straight.

So here you have it, this is what the media DO and DO NOT want to receive right now.

Read up so you can ensure you’re being a valuable asset rather than just another email cluttering their inbox.


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

COVID-19 is dominating the news right now so the bar is set super high for stories that aren’t related to the pandemic. But that DOES NOT mean we don’t want to hear from you. It just means that your angle has to be super clear and be able to compete with the influx of virus-related headlines. Now is the time to be concise, creative and enthusiastic. Remember: you pitch your story to the reporter and the reporter has to go pitch it to their editors. So the best thing you can do is create a pitch that is relevant to the reporter’s beat and will help them make the best case for you to their editors.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

I don’t want to see long, drawn-out pitches. If I open an email that looks like it will take me five minutes to read, chances are I’ll be pulled into something else and won’t go back to it. Being clear and concise is key! Also, DO NOT BURY YOUR LEAD. Whatever idea you’re trying to get across, make sure that’s front and center. Priority will be given to COVID-19 stories that are relevant to my beat, but that doesn’t mean just throwing in the term “COVID-19” or “virus” or “pandemic” or whatever just to get attention. I’m a health care reporter and I see SO many press releases that just throw in those keywords just to get our attention when the real story or company has nothing to do with the virus. That’s a sure-fire way to make a reporter never take you seriously now or in the future when this is all over.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

The most important thing is to do your research. Make sure you’re reaching out to the right publication and the journalist within that publication that covers your beat. The most annoying thing as a reporter is to get an influx of pitches that have nothing to do with my beat. For example, I’m a health care stocks reporter at Bloomberg so the pitches I receive better have a clear money angle to it, otherwise, it will be a no-go. If your pitch shows that you know my work and what I’m all about, I’ll be much more likely to engage with you. And if you’re not sure you’re reaching the correct person, just send a short email asking who would be the best contact. I never hesitate to direct reps to my colleagues.

Erin’s Author Page: https://www.bloomberg.com/authors/AR40sNlFcgk/erin-roman


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

Ideas for stories about how businesses are staying afloat during the virus crisis — or helping the extended community — rather than falling apart or shuttering or offering deep discounts and sales (advertising).

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

Self-serving or superficial announcements from businesses.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

PR agents, in my experience, are at their best when they supply writers with thorough press releases, easily and quickly connect writers with the right people, and — most of all — do not micromanage the interview between writer and subject by being on the phone line or asking a writer to email questions in advance. I value highly the PR agents who trust the process as well as respect my experience.

Michael’s Author Page: https://www.sfvbj.com/staff/michael-aushenker/


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

I want to see stories! I want to know the “who” “what” “where” & “how” that leads with feeling and something that my audience will care about!

Think about WHY my audience will care and orchestrate the pitch around that.

A good example for a local TV news station…if your client is a hospital who’s struggling to treat all the COVID-19 patients or doesn’t have enough tests and is doing damage control.

Say there was a 26 Week pregnant woman who had COVID-19 symptoms and went to the ER of your client’s hospital. The hospital refused to test her because she didn’t “meet all the qualifications” listed by the government. Her husband then drove her an hour and a half away to another hospital where she immediately had to be intubated she was so sick. She later tested positive for COVID-19…

If you pitched me that story and had the contact information of the woman and or her husband who WANTED to speak to the press about their story, AND had contact information or statement from the hospital who is doing damage control… AND unfortunately was out of tests when the pregnant mom arrived or other said reason…AND they are so sorry this happened…AND they’ve reached out to the family to share their apologies and best wishes…that would make the news.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

Random pitches that seem totally promotional.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

Say hello, let me know you like how I told a story. If I put something out there that was meaningful or uplifting or tragic and affected you so that you DID something. Let me know! Kindness can go a long way during difficult times. Share a little bit about how/why we might work together in the future. And, I definitely won’t forget you.

Christine’s Website: https://christine-odonnell.com/


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - THEPRBARinc.com - Lexie Smith

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

I’d like to see pitches about items or people that make life at home easier or more enjoyable during this time. We’re open to discussing at-home fitness, hobbies, organization, and meal planning. Or we’d love to mention businesses that are making it easy for users to book travel with low risk, such as no change or cancellation fees.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

I do not want to promote non-essential items: travel accessories, hiking gear, summer shoes, etc. Anything for the outside is not necessary.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

I’m always interested in hearing about small businesses, especially woman-owned. I’m doing my best right now to support small businesses from all around this country as we’ve met so many wonderful business owners during our travels. If there’s a way we can spread the word to encourage consumers to shop small right now, we’d love to be a part of it.

Brianne’s Website: Itsbreeandben.com (Other Contributing Websites: VegNews.comCraftbeer.com)


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

Most importantly, I want to make sure that the publicist is not only familiar with my digital publication, but understands the voice, target audience, and content we publish. Particularly, I’m looking to feature real-world individuals, particularly chefs, restaurants on Long Island within the New York City metro area as well as southern Florida. I would also be interested in speaking with chefs and restaurant tours in London as that is where many of my readers are based. I also love to see how small businesses are taking the initiative and helping their community. The pitches should have a COVID-19 angle. If not, these pitches are welcome, but they may not be a priority as far as the publishing schedule. I do receive a high volume of emails daily, and I always recommend following up, I recommend putting “follow up” in the subject. If I see that you are following up, shows me that there is that interest. I’m always happy to help when I can.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

Pitches that are not sensitive or relevant to the current pandemic. I’m also particularly not interested in publishing any studies or pre-written content/interviews, etc. All interviews should be completely organic and instead contain potential topic/article titles and angles for your client’s potential feature/article inclusion.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

I always strongly recommend including a document in an email either as a link or as an attachment that includes your current full client roster [if you’re a publicist.] Even though I may not be working on a relevant article at that particular time, I like to add these bits of information to my file so that I may reach out directly accordingly when I have an appropriate story that either I’m writing or one of my writers is working on.

Vanessa’s Website: Eastendtastemagazine.com


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

Providing useful information about brands that consumers and businesses can use at home or remotely is the primary focus right now. However, not every product needs to be “perfect for isolation.” Life continues at home for many people despite the isolation change, so we need not hear about how a moisturizer is perfect for home use. We know. It’s OK to simply send new releases and product guides without angling for a COVID story.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

In the same vein, asking whether we’re working on any stories about DIY/at-home projects is unnecessary. We are. It would be more useful to simply send a note with any experts that may be available for quotes instead of starting a back and forth.

Natalia’s Websites: Styletomes.com & Youbeauty.com


This is What Journalists DO and DO NOT Want Right Now - Lexie Smith - THEPRBARinc.com

What do you want to see in your inbox right now?

Pitches about relevant topics, including if a business is stepping up to help the community during this time; new experiences people can have at home while self-isolating; new and inspiring products that can help people relax and look after their mental health during this time.

What do you NOT want to see in your inbox right now?

That being said, please don’t pitch me the same story/product three times in a two-week span.

Any other tips on how the PR industry can provide VALUE to you right now?

I am actually really appreciating getting pitches and press releases right now. As a writer for many different outlets, I need to be constantly pitching new stories and learning about new products.

Julia’s Contributing Websites: Total BeautyLarchmont Chronicle & more


Do you want to see your name or business in the press? Learn how you can land your next headlines here.

Are you a writer who is reading this and wants to add your two cents to help set the record straight? Email me at Lexie@theprbarinc.com.

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