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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Guest Blog: A Problem with the Press Kit for a TV Reporter
The following blog post is from Jeff Olsen, Communications and Marketing Director for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Before his work with The Salvation Army, Jeff spent 20 years reporting and anchoring the news in Alexandria, Rochester and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A Problem with the Press Kit for a TV Reporter I had to laugh recently when I read a suggestion from a national marketing company about what should be included in the perfect press kit. A partial list included: a pocket folder, intro letter, lead release, background, biographical information, fact sheets and more.
Lean in closer, I’ll tell you a secret. (Reporters don’t read all that stuff.)
Truth be told, nothing tells a reporter, “I don’t understand the time pressures of your job” like a press kit that requires a two-pocket folder.
I should know. I was a reporter. I got the fancy press kits. They sat on my desk in pile of pitches that I rarely had time to read. And I was a guy who actually tried to get coverage for non-profits.
The person who wrote the list for the perfect press kit needs to be sent one explaining the new way a reporter gets background information. It’s called the Internet. Background? Biographical information? Fact sheets? TV reporters can find all of it on your website. (Right?)
My advice? Save the time and money you’d sink into that fancy press kit and spend it on really getting to know a reporter. Find one whose work you respect and then reach out to them. Friend them on Facebook. Send a quick email complimenting them on an interesting report. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Get on their radar!
Then, when you do have a story, get in touch with them. Show them you understand the time constraints of a reporter’s day. Most importantly, offer interesting pictures and good speakers. Send a short email with the important details and links to more info. Include a phone number you will answer when they call.
If you gain a reporter’s trust by delivering what you promise-- compelling video, good interviews—they’ll be back for more. Instead of that pile of press kits, your number will end up in their phone. And isn’t that where you wanted your number in the first place?