Radio outreach keys, proper pitching protocol, and more

Why am I getting both placement and usage information for my radio outreach project? What's the difference?

Why am I getting both placement and usage information for my radio outreach project? What's the difference?

As with many broadcast PR services, getting client messages on the air is a two-part process, says Bill Polglase of North American Network. "The first involves distributing the information to the broadcast outlet, whereas the second is getting the message aired," he notes.

Unlike a placement in print - when an article or feature is actually published - a radio placement only implies that the story was delivered to the appropriate radio-station staff.

"For example, if we pitch an ANR to 100 radio outlets and 80 of the newsrooms say, 'Yes, we're interested,' that would be reported as an 80% placement," says Polglase. "For a budget-minded PR pro, sometimes it is enough to know the story was 'placed' because most radio outlets that take the time to accept a story usually use it." A placement-only ANR costs less, he notes, so you can reach a larger number of outlets with the same budget.

However, most clients want to know if their message actually aired. "Gathering usage information is another step," explains Polglase, "usually accomplished through follow-up calls to maintain good relationships with radio staffers, and it costs more. So the placement information in your report reflects all the outlets that received your story. The usage information is a verification of where your story actually aired."

Media relations

Should I follow up with a reporter on a pitch? If so, how long should I wait before doing so?

"Yes, you should follow up with reporters," says Curtis Gill of News Generation, "but keep in mind that it is a fine line to walk. Timing on a follow-up call must be well-planned."

Be careful not to seem too anxious, but you want reporters to know you are there and care about their response, he adds.

"From talking with reporters, most now prefer to first get an e-mail, which can then be followed up with a call," advises Gill. "It is typically best to then wait a couple of days before calling again." And don't leave a message each time you call, he advises, otherwise you might come off as desperate.

"It is typically best to only leave a message a couple of days before the event occurs and maybe send a follow up e-mail in the meantime," suggests Gill. "But never wait more than a couple of days after the initial e-mail to contact a reporter. They get many pitches. You want to be sure yours gets to the top of the pile. A follow-up call is a way to ensure it does."

Article marketing

What is the very best way to find e-zines and Web sites that are most read so that your article gets the most exposure?

"Focus on finding Web sites and e-zine publishers within your specific niche that have strong emotional connections to their audience," said Eric Gruber of PR LEADS Article Marketing Campaign Service.

Most likely, you are already visiting their Web sites or subscribing to their e-zines, he points out. "If you don't know who has a great e-zine related to your niche, there are plenty of e-zine directories on the Internet that can guide you," says Gruber. Other strategies include researching your competitors - where are there articles being published?"

Then do a Google search, he adds. Type in your industry or article topic followed by the words "article submission."

"And don't forget to check sites for magazines within your niche," he advises. "Many magazines now allow online article submissions for pieces to be published on their site. This means more opportunities for writers."

Send your questions to toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Lisa LaMotta if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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