Every week, Tunheim hears from organizations who are having an unusually challenging time catching the interest of media in the stories they have to tell. Storytellers have very quickly changed the way they’re working; reporters are working from home, newsrooms are cutting resources, and the news of the day is sucking the air out of every square inch of copy available to share stories not directly related to the latest hot headline.
To better understand the challenges media are dealing with, and how communicators can succeed in working with them during this time, Tunheim’s Director of Media, Lou Ann Olson, sat down (virtually!) last week with some of the best in the business to learn more.
Maria Reeve is the Managing Editor of Content for the Houston Chronicle, overseeing story selection and planning for one of the biggest newspapers in the United States.
Lexie Sachs is the Textiles Director for Good Housekeeping magazine, the largest magazine under the Hearst family of publications. In this role, Ms. Sachs oversees the magazine’s coverage of a wide range of products, including bedding, mattresses and apparel.
While the publications Ms. Sachs and Ms. Reeve work for are very different in the way they work and stories they tell, there were some key takeaways from this conversation that they both agreed upon – enthusiastically:
Know your numbers
Reporters are using data and analytics to help them understand what stories their audiences are interested in. They’re looking at Google Key Words, trending topics, and the most-read online stories…and you should too. When preparing to pitch a story, do your homework to see how your story stacks up next to stories and topics that are top performers, then make sure your pitch angle is one that will add up when editors do their math.
Every newsroom is doing business in their own way. Make sure your outreach plans are multilayered to meet the needs of a variety of news reporting styles. Consider keeping a variety of tools in your communications toolbox: in-person events, video b-roll resources, virtual interviews, etc.
Look through a new lens
News organizations and reporters are challenging themselves to make sure they’re telling stories with an eye towards social justice issues – make sure you’re doing the same.
Do your homework
Don’t just pull a media list and press ‘send’ with any pitch, ever. With email inboxes that are at an all-time high capacity, editors will appreciate your efforts to make sure your pitch is mindful of their audiences, planning calendars, coverage areas and recent stories. Don’t waste your time or theirs.
We're here to help.
If you’d like to talk through your next media opportunity, Tunheim is offering free consultations with members of our media team. We’re here to help. Sign up for a free one-on-one Zoom meeting with one of our team of experts: tunheim.com/help