PR firms choosing election day pitches wisely

NEW YORK: The election is dominating both the US press and its citizens on Election Day, making media outreach for non-political affairs a tricky proposition.

NEW YORK: The election is dominating both the US press and its citizens on Election Day, making media outreach for non-political affairs a tricky proposition.

PR professionals across the industry said that while things were quiet, there was still room for non-election pitches.

"Generically speaking for our technology clients, we will be pitching today for sure because the technology press can be somewhat isolated from national news and events," said Jan Lawlor, SVP of Boston-based Brodeur Worldwide via e-mail. "Of course not all technology press can be painted with the same broad brush -- it all depends on the type of news and who you are pitching."

Most technology journalists have to file a story just like any other day, said Lawlor. As for pitching other sectors, such as healthcare, financial services, and consumer, she said her firm would need to exercise "good judgment."

And in other arenas, some of her staff is not pitching at all.

"There are many reporters on deadline embroiled in the election activity, and we will wait until a more appropriate time to contact them," Brodeur said.

Lloyd Trufelman, president of Trylon Communications, said that the market was ripe for hard news election-related stories.

Trufelman said that the electronic media would continuously be looking for stories in the ensuing 24 hours of conjecture that was bound to occur, even if there were a definitive victor.

He cautioned that "fluff" was out. If one were pitching fun election-day treats for watching the election, he said, the time for that pitch was last week. But his rule of thumb was that common sense prevails.

"If it's relevant, go for it; if not, sit on the story until this lifts," Trufelman said.

Edelman sent out a "media flash" to its offices that said, "In thinking about story pitching and your client announcements (and the timing for both), the news organizations with which we have been in touch have made it clear that the elections will continue to dominate the news budget until Thursday, at the earliest."

"It's still okay to pitch as well as the people you're pitching [have] beats are immune from election-related news," said Peter Himler, Edelman's CMO. He cited entertainment, healthcare, and technology as particular areas and monthly magazines and shows like Access Hollywood. He added that general interest news organizations like dailies, newsweeklies, and network and cable television news were probably bad choices this week.

Himler said that the main news organizations' news hole would be minuscule for election pieces and almost non-existent for non-election stories.

Ben Silverman, a former business reporter for the New York Post and current columnist for said a journalist's personal preference would dictate coverage.

In general, however, he suggested that PR professionals hold short-lead stories for the next couple of days and focus on the long-term pitches that might have been cast aside during the campaign.

"Especially for smaller companies or new products, you don't want to [waste] press that doesn't get any attention," Silverman said.

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