We recently had the pleasure to chat with Lee DeVito, editor-in-chief of the Metro Times, for some insider intel gleaned by plying him with cookies while we asked questions and reveled in his industry insight. Here’s some of what we talked about:
How has digital media changed the Metro Times?
Lee said digital media is changing the game for the publishing industry, but it’s also opening up a new area of consideration for PR pros. Print publications only have a limited amount of space for stories, but websites and blogs are practically infinite. Lee said there isn’t room for everything they get in a week to go into the print publication, but when pitches include photos and videos they are more likely to get placement on the publication’s blog. Bonus tip: You’ll garner goodwill by tagging them in their stories you’ve shared on social media. Those digital pageviews add up.
What is the best thing about your job?
Speaking with Lee, the reverence he has for his work came through. He said every day is different and have ranged from flying in a stunt plane, talking to different artists (here’s lookin’ at you, Dita Von Teese), or interviewing politicians; no day is exactly the same. Our take away is: Give the reporter an experience, something unique nobody else can get. Give them something to talk about and remember. Can you grant them backstage access? First look at a new product? A bit of adventure? Reporters are looking for the untold, the different, the unexplored – what do you have to offer?
How do we get continued coverage for an event after the announcement?
Every PR person knows this situation: You’ve landed a story about your upcoming event in the publication of choice, but how do you keep the media talking about it past the announcement? Lee says it’s all about the angles. Who you know doesn’t hurt either. Look for the local angle – does someone affiliated with your event have local ties? Are they partnering with a charity a particular editor is passionate about? Does it fit into a trend, relate to a holiday, or include a fun experience for the reporter? (see above).
What do you think about all those emails PR people send?
“My inbox is so full I’m just looking for a reason to delete emails.” Wow, Lee. Wow. But we get it, we confess to sometimes doing the same thing. So, how do we make our pitches stand out? Newsflash: Lee said the best PR pitches come from people familiar with their publication. The old “spray and pray” method of pitching stories Does. Not. Work. You have to pitch the correct story to the correct person at the correct publication at the correct time – in other words, research, research, research. Bonus tip: Sometimes great images (note the word “great”) and video might be the deciding factor in whether or not your pitch gets a reply or deleted.
Do you have any questions about the relationship between media and PR pros? Share them with us in the comment section!