I was thrilled to attend PRSA Colorado's annual Media Roundtable, to learn from distinguished journalists and editors at a wide range of Colorado media outlets and discuss tips, tricks and best practices for successful media outreach. Award-winning journalist Mitch Jelnicker served as the event emcee and moderated a panel of seven reporters and editors from outlets including The Denver Gazette, Entrepreneur.com and Colorado Community Media. The dialogue and breakout sessions gave insights into current trends; suggested content and specific tips for each outlet; and highlighted the ways newsrooms are evolving.  

Here are my three biggest takeaways that will affect how we pitch in 2023:

  • Know the landscape - To craft a pitch that will capture a reporter’s interest, and ultimately that of their readers or viewers, it's important to thoroughly understand who the outlet’s audience is, what kind of news they care about and what content your target publication or reporter covers. Panelists noted local media will continue to focus on the most pressing issues affecting their communities and neighborhoods, while national outlets will focus more on industry trends, global developments and news impacting Americans more broadly. But more than that, the panelists stressed the importance of being aware of local, state and national current events, issues and topics of interest. Being conscious of your pitch timing in relation to what else is happening at the time can help your pitch have a bigger impact, prevent it from getting lost and help you not look tone deaf to what’s going on in the world. Major weather events, national observances and breaking news around a tragedy, for example, can completely shift the news cycle. If your story offer doesn’t align, it may make sense to pause on your pitch effort or announcement until coverage shifts back to normal.
  • Freshen up – and refine – your angles - Key topics of interest for reporters this year will include economic growth, politics, public health and safety, mental health and climate change/sustainability. But since these aren’t new topics, reporters are looking for a switch in the narrative to move the conversation forward: inventive solutions to problems; inspiring features on people making a difference; and stories that offer clear and interesting metrics to support a stance or idea. This means we’ll need to craft deeper and more compelling pitches that explain why the story matters in a larger context or why we’re offering our client expert as a resource to the reporter. The panelists also mentioned it’s helpful to research other offerings the publication has, such as podcasts, article series and webinars, and suggest our clients for anything that might be a fit. We want to help our target outlets feature the strongest content possible and create mutually beneficial relationships that keep them coming back for more — helping us establish our clients as go-to resources and earning even more coverage.
  • Get in touch with your digital side - Faced with economic uncertainty, the media industry will need to adjust to changing consumer preferences to attract and retain target audiences while remaining competitive. The shift from print to online to social news content has transformed the industry, and outlets need to tap into the power of digital to stay relevant. With this digitization, content is more lively, interactive and accessible, helping to compete with social media news, the preferred news channels for many of today's young readers and viewers. For companies and brands with a younger target audience, digital content is the way to reach them, so time and budget should be allocated here to secure it – or to create it yourself. Establishing a presence across multiple platforms – social, website, industry events, bylined articles in key verticals – creates a multi-pronged approach that enables us to reach new audiences and convey consistent messaging and content while continuing to drive media coverage.

Throughout 2023, we will continue to see changes within the media world that will create opportunities to tell new stories and reach diverse audiences as news outlets look to drive further innovation and expand their reach.

Need help navigating it all? We’re here to help. Email me at hhenning@linhartpr.com.