Sustainability Matters at Hirons

By Luke Woody-Fehribach, Associate Art Director

Today marks the one-week anniversary of the 45th Earth Day. This time last week, people were being very conscious about what they drank, how they got to work, what they threw away and what they recycled. SnapChat had an Earth Day story, Google had a quiz and #EarthDay2015 was trending everywhere else. People were consciously caring for the earth.

But what about today? Yeah, people are still caring for the earth, but how many? The earth is precious to us but so often we get caught up in what we’re doing, using and buying and we don’t seem to bat an eye when we toss away a single sticky note into the trashcan. Small actions can make a big difference. One sticky note per person in offices all around the world adds up. I’m no mathematician, but I can figure that one out. It equals a lot. Like a lot, a lot. And here’s the kicker, that’s just a fraction of a fraction of the real problem. If one sticky note per person adds up, imagine what everything else we throw away adds up to. Not enough people are paying attention to what they can recycle and do for the earth.

At Hirons, we are actively doing our part to fight those gluttonous trashcans. Every desk and common area has a recycle bin. In every common area specifically, there are posters reminding employees to figure out if what they are about to throw away is actually recyclable or not. We have a white roof, which reflects the sun and reduces our energy costs. We have a green team, which creates office initiatives to make the office greener. We have a ToxDrop Recycling pick up every quarter, allowing employees to bring in their burnt out light bulbs, empty copier toners, dead batteries, and other miscellaneous electronic equipment that can no longer be used. A couple years back, we switched out 166 of our light bulbs with LED energy efficient light fixtures, some of which being motion sensor. Every month we promote and acknowledge our coworkers for being green. We’ve decreased our garbage by 10 cubic yards and added those 10 cubic yards to our recycling each month. And that’s all just the tip of the melting iceberg. Hirons is also on the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Green Business Initiative.

Sustainability matters at Hirons and we don’t like to restrict tree hugging to one day out of the year. Every day is Earth Day!

Keeping an Eye on Those Headlines

By Christine Todd, Account Coordinator

It can almost go without saying that having a basic understanding of current events, especially if you work in communications, is so important for everyday work and life. I’m talking to you, college students. If you are in college or a recent college graduate, it’s good to start these habits before you enter the professional world.

With so many sources across all mediums, it’s easier now than ever to stay updated on local, national and world news. I’ve outlined some baby steps you can take:

• Subscribe to a daily email newsletter to get the day’s headlines, such as The Skimm. It will make you feel like a news rock star before you walk out the door in the morning.
• Listen to podcasts while exercising or during your commute.
• Watch local broadcast TV while getting ready in the morning.
• Make a national news channel your browser homepage so you’re almost forced to read the updating headlines every time you hop onto your browser.
• Download a news compilation app on your phone. Circa News and Newsify are some of my favorites. These allow you to pick and choose the RSS feeds from your favorite news sources and put them all in one convenient app.

Doing just some of these everyday will make you stand out at networking events or informational interviews. I can just imagine some of these scenarios occurring if you show off your news junkie skills.

For example:

“What’s that you say? You know about that obscure bill passed through the Indiana Senate last week? I’d like to hear your opinion on it over a cup of coffee, and maybe we can see if my company has an opening in our government relations department.”

Or:

“Hey, you seem pretty knowledgeable about what tech products are popular in Southeast Asia right now. Can you send me links to those articles you were talking about? Here’s my business card, and please feel free to contact me for career advice.”

Well, it may not play out as wonderful as these hypothetical situations, but knowing your stuff can help you get a leg up in the recent graduate pool.

If you work in an agency, you’re expected to know a little about everything, and you’re definitely required to be an expert on your local news outlets. It can make the difference in scoring more media coverage for a client if you are able to make your releases and pitches newsworthy. It also helps if you are able to speak intelligently about why an article you read last night would really help with a client’s communications strategy. Back up your rationale with reputable and multiple news sources and you could come across a winning plan.

You can even help avoid terribly timed social media situations like this.

So yes, it can be very easy to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world around you. Beyond fulfilling your civic duty as an educated human, being a news junkie can help you professionally and also personally because let’s face it, it’ll probably help your stats at Wednesday night trivia.

Start reading, listening and watching. Keep an open mind and don’t limit yourself to just one news source.

 

Intern Spotlight: Kenyatta White

INTERN SPOTLIGHT Kenyatta-Photo

Name: Kenyatta White
School: Grantham University
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: Master of Business Administration
Internship title: New Business Assistant
Hobbies: Cooking, DIY projects and event planning

Duties at Hirons:
As a New Business Assistant, I provide account support for prospective clients, supporting the New Business Department in the day-to-day management of prospective accounts. Some of my responsibilities include drafting proposals and scopes of work, providing daily updates on new business and federal opportunities, and conducting secondary research.

Favorite part about interning at Hirons:
I love the staff interaction. We find any reason to celebrate one another, from birthdays to promotions and everything in between. Oh, and there’s always delicious food and snacks laying out the office and who doesn’t like food?

What have you learned during your time at Hirons? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?
At Hirons, I’ve learned so much about strategic planning and execution in regards to the client’s needs. It’s awesome to see a scope of work first presented by the New Business Department turn into a full body of creative work. This internship opportunity is just what I needed to jump start my career in public relations. I think that my military discipline, along with the hands on experience I’m receiving here at Hirons, will be a great asset in pursuing my PR goals.

Most difficult aspect of the job:
There isn’t really anything at Hirons I find too difficult. However, as an U.S Army Veteran, I think that a change in work culture can be challenging in general. Transitioning from a military environment to pursue a career in a corporate one can sometimes take some getting used to.

Fun facts about yourself:
• I’m a self-proclaimed foodie.
• I’m a hair product junkie (the first step is admitting that you have a problem).
• I also really don’t like camping – the Army ruined that for me. Oh yeah, I’m a U.S. Army Veteran.

Why Agency Life is the Best Life

By Blair Mulzer, Account Coordinator

As my one-year anniversary at Hirons draws near, I have begun to think back on the past year and all its significances. It’s been a period of many firsts for me – my first year out of college, married, living on my own and in a new town and working in my chosen career.

One of the most noteworthy realization’s I’ve come to is how much more I have learned about public relations in the past 10 months at Hirons than in my four years at college. Looking back, I know I made the right decision to start my PR career working at a PR agency versus in-house.

I’ve heard it said that the experience and knowledge gained from working three years at an agency is equivalent to working several years at a company. In view of this past year, this rings true. While at Hirons, I have been exposed to a wide variety of clients, brands, strategies and people and I believe there is a tremendous breadth and depth of experiences to be gained working at an agency. Let me share with you some of the reasons why I believe agency life is the best life.

1. When starting out in your career, it is ESSENTIAL to have career mentors. I have friends who are the sole marketing, PR or communications person at their company – that’s great, if you know it all, but if you are just starting out how will you learn best practices?

The senior account managers here at Hirons are awesome. They have been a great resource for helping me think through the best strategies for different projects and campaigns, how to work and talk with clients, how to better write for various mediums like video and radio scripts, speeches, new business proposals, specialized pitches, PR and communication plans, etc. and more. If I ever have feel an inkling of doubt or have a question, I am positive that someone here has the answer for me…

2. And not just an answer, but the BEST answer. Another great aspect of working with an agency is that you’re working with a team. I have some bad ideas and I have some great ideas, but on my own I am quite limited. However, when working with a team the possibilities are endless. Every account has a manager, a coordinator or two, and a creative designer. We joke that teamwork makes the dream work, but in all seriousness it takes a team to carry out all the details of a successful campaign.

3. Want experience planning and executing a press conference? How about staging a photo shoot or video shoot? Maybe take part in a branding workshop or facilitate a focus group? Participating in these opportunities and others are always made available to staff who want to gain new experiences. It’s great because my clients’ current projects and campaigns don’t limit me from gaining new experiences. We are always welcome to lend a hand on other projects.

4. It never gets old. I love that every week, month and year looks different for me. With having a variety of clients, I get to think and work in many different ways. One day I’m focusing on B2B messaging and strategy for a company in the UK and the next I’m working on public outreach for youth in Indianapolis. My exposure isn’t constrained to one industry or location, I get pulled in many different directions, making me a more well-rounded person, and eventually, ace of the trade.

5. Lastly, you know way more than you think. Because I am often moving at a hundred miles an hour, I often forget how much I’ve really accomplished and learned in such a short amount of time. I cannot tell you how many press release I’ve written, media phone call’s I’ve made, press events I’ve put on, hits I’ve obtained, or projects and campaigns I’ve initiated and completed in the past year. It’s crazy to think back on all that I have done just 10 months out of college – Oh, and with the help of an incredible team, won my first PRSA Pinnacle Award.

An in all, agency life is exhilarating, addicting, and incredibly rewarding. If you’re graduating soon or thinking about making a career change, I advise you to heavily consider working at an agency – especially Hirons.

The New On-Demand Lifestyle

By Jim Parham, Chief Operating Officer

The third season of “House of Cards,” premiered last week. Well, premiere may not be the right term – the whole season downloaded in one fell swoop.

I’m a fan of  “binge watching” – you know, get a few friends together and watch Frank Underwood give a few asides, then you want to see more. No longer do you have to wait a week to see the next episode. No longer do you have to deal with 30-second messages about E.D.-fighting drugs or insurance. Today, it’s about content delivered where, when and how you want it and as much as you want it.

Go ahead, watch all 13 Netflix episodes in a two-day binge. You will undergo the same endless sensory overload experienced by Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

While TV still has a big audience, The New York Times noted that, “Prime-time ratings for the Big Four broadcasters are dropping more precipitously than ever.”  Part of the problem might be demographics: Business Insider recently reported on a “generational shift in which younger viewers don’t want cable or satellite service, just wireless Internet that allows them to view video on their tablets and laptops.”

Just as we’ve seen the tanking of newspaper readership and subscription rates, there’s more on the horizon. Most likely, there will continue to be an assault on traditional television viewership as we move to a converged communication platform where the tablet, cellphone and laptop are all things to all people. Sure, we’ll sit in front of the 50-inch for an HD version of the Super Bowl, but that’s more of a social function than functionality.

Let’s not forget about where a lot of good “television” is coming from: HBO, Showtime and Netflix.  Looking at the list of Emmy nominations each year, it’s hard to tell that network television exists.  “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” are landing huge market shares, even though they are accessible through subscription-based services.

It appears to me, more and more people want high quality entertainment that’s smart, entertaining and uninterrupted. Sure, many watch “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol,” but things are changing fast. Reality TV may have been a big hit for the broadcast industry, but there are only so many New Jersey housewives out there.  Thank God.

As traditional broadcasters feel the hot breath of competition, fueled by technology, they may want to turn to the inspirational wisdom of Frank Underwood: “There is but one rule:  Hunt or be hunted.”

6 Pieces of Advice for Aspiring PR Pros

By Kendall Bybee, Account Manager

I was recently approached by an old college peer of mine to answer some questions for one of her PR classes at my alma mater, Indiana University (GO IU!). The questions she asked were thought-provoking and ones that I often mulled over myself when I was in college (oh the good old days). As a fairly new PR pro trying to hack it in the business, I wanted to share my responses with those who are on the brink of graduation and might be looking for some answers and clarity about the industry.

So let’s dive right in…

1. What competencies are needed for a successful career in public relations?

First and foremost, you need to be a great writer. I honestly don’t think there is a more valuable skill to have in PR than being an above average writer – be able to write well, often and fast. Organization is another quality that I believe all employers look for. Especially at the agency level where you’re constantly juggling multiple different clients at a time and usually have to quickly jump from one account to the next throughout the day. Thinking strategically and knowing how to properly conduct research are also key competencies. Lastly, I think being a people person and a good communicator is vital – that is, of course, if you ever wanted to be trusted to be put in front of a client.

2. What criteria do you use to assess the abilities of a potential employee in public relations?

A potential PR employee must be well-rounded with a broad understanding of all aspects of communications. The world of PR is ever-changing and employers are constantly demanding new skills from their employees. Therefore, you must be flexible and able to adapt and grow with the needs of your clients. Also, potential employees should be passionate and curious with a strong desire to learn. You must be bold and creative, quick on your feet, and have a genuine interest in people and building relationships.

3. What PR competencies and skills do you typically miss when you encounter recent college graduates?

Generally speaking, I think the skills that college graduates usually lack are in the areas of strategic thinking and research. It’s honestly the foundation of everything we do and two skills that often get overlooked in college. You use these skills to solve problems, write communications plans, to develop successful campaigns and to monitor and measure those campaigns. Strategic as well as creative thinking is an absolute must when you’re trying to maximize your resources and implement the best possible campaigns and plans for your clients.

I also think media relations gets wildly overlooked in college. I believe it’s a huge part of PR and needs to be built into every college curriculum for majors including journalism, public relations, strategic communications, etc.

4. What should a college students focus on in their PR studies?

Focus on the above. And then focus on your weaknesses. There’s nothing better than a well-rounded graduate who is capable in all areas. Hirons is a full-service agency, meaning we offer services in all areas including public relations, advertising, marketing, media relations, media planning and buying, design and production. I didn’t solely focus on PR in college (although is was my specialty), I also took classes in graphic design, advertising, research, intensive writing and marketing. These additional skills not only helped me build a comprehensive and versatile portfolio but they also set me apart from other candidates gunning for the same position.

5. What should college students know about public relations before they graduate?

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but you’ll never fully understand it until you step into your first PR job out of the college – this is a fast-paced industry we work in. There is no such thing as a “slow day” or “down time,” or at least rarely. For me, this is the kind of environment I thrive in and that’s why I chose to begin my career at an independent agency. I love having my hands on multiple different projects and being able to work with and learn from our media, creative and production teams in the agency. It’s a busy, hectic, stressful, crazy job – but it’s also extremely rewarding and SO much fun.

6. Do you have any other advice for PR students?

Start small and finish big. What I mean by that is choosing to work at an independent agency like Hirons verses a larger global firm in a bigger city was the best decision I could’ve made for myself. Not everyone will agree with me on this, but there is true value in starting out in a more intimate setting where you’re able to really learn the ins and the outs of the industry, where you’re trusted with more responsibility and really able to show people what you can do. Downside to working at an independent agency that has a lot of big clients? Long hours, late nights and early mornings. I’ve worked from 7am to 9pm before prepping for a big press conference that was expected to last a total of 20 minutes. Were the long hours worth it in the end? Absolutely. The skills I’m acquiring at Hirons right now is arming me for my future.

Expect the unexpected. Cliché, I know, but it also could not be more true. There is never a “normal” day at the office, which is one of the reasons why I love my job. I don’t thrive in a routine-kind-of environment – I love chaos and I love solving problems. If you’re looking for a job where you can walk through the door each day and know exactly what’s going to happen, PR is not for you. Have I received 11pm emails from clients who needed a press release by 6am the next day? Yes. One thing I didn’t realize when I came into this industry was that we are on the clock 24/7. We don’t live in an 8am-5pm world. Be prepared for that.

Love what you do. If you don’t love your work, there’s no way for you to ever fully reach your potential. Since starting at Hirons 8 months ago, I cannot tell you how far I’ve come as a young professional. I feel more confident, more experienced and more able then I ever have before and more sure that I’ve chosen the right career path.

From the Big Apple to Indy, How PR differs in the Markets

By Elizabeth Friendland

Throughout my decade of experience in advertising and public relations, I’ve worked in both New York (literally on Madison Avenue, a la Don Draper) and Indianapolis. The former always seems to impress clients and bosses, and is usually followed by a wide-eyes stare and a “So what’s it like?

Honestly? Working in the media capital of the world is a lot like working in good ‘ol Indy.

Clients are demanding. Deadlines are tight. The workday creeps into the nights and weekends. Account management and creative continue to disagree. Budgets run over. RFPs are both full of dread and excitement.

That’s not say there weren’t a few differences – but they might not all be what you’d expect.

1. Media relations didn’t get any easier.

Often, clients (and sometimes bosses) assume that by virtue of living in New York City, a PR professional is better equipped to know the right journalists (and therefore produce great placements). I’ve landed clients in the biggest outlets you can name, from The New York Times to Vogue to the Today Show — and it wasn’t because I had a 212 area code.

Rather, I got these placements through traditional research; I zeroed in on a contact (producer, reporter, booker) that I thought would be receptive, I contacted them with a super-targeted and personalized pitch regarding a truly compelling story, and I followed up.  Sure, occasionally I’d grab drinks or lunch with a writer, but that usually happened long after we solidified a working relationship through phone and email contact. I can assure you no one checked my zip code when deciding whether to run a story or not.

2. The industry environment was actually less competitive.

I’ve found that smaller markets, such as Indy, are actually much more competitive and cutthroat than larger markets like New York. In Indianapolis and other similarly sized cities, there are a limited number of clients that can afford the services of agencies; therefore, we’re all trying that much harder to vie for a smallish pool of business. For professionals, finding a job can be extremely tough – there are very few positions to go around, so agencies can be hyper-selective.

In New York, it seems nearly everyone works in or around the advertising industry, and jobs are plentiful. While it’s easier to get a foot in the door and obtain a job offer, the stakes are higher; there’s a seemingly endless supply of New York transplants waiting behind you to take the job you won’t (or can’t) do. While agencies in New York do have egos, it doesn’t feel as cutthroat as a small town; there’s plenty of business to pass around.

3. Clients took more risks.

Yes, it’s a cliché that Midwestern owned or based businesses are more conservative, but I’ve experienced this to be true. While few clients, regardless of geography, are flexible enough to totally run with any crazy idea an agency pitches its way, my New York clients seemed to have a larger capacity for risk. Perhaps this reflected a more liberal culture, or perhaps it was solely a business decision – to compete in a larger market, you sometimes have to be over-the-top to attract attention.

4. Salaries were inflated (but it didn’t help).

I remember sitting in the president’s office when she gave me graduate for my first big girl job offer. She asked what I wanted to be paid, and I told her a number nearly ten thousand more than I was making in Indianapolis as a receptionist/PR assistant. As I steadied myself for her shock and horror, she laughed and exclaimed, “Oh, we can do much better than that!” and then threw out a number more than double what I had been making. I had visions of myself living in a penthouse apartment, rolling around in a bathtub filled with dollar bills. I was rich!

That didn’t last long. The reality of New York City rent, utilities and elevated prices on everything from food to toilet paper set in, and within a month I was phoning home for cash infusions. While my salary would have placed me solidly in the upper middle class in Indianapolis, I was struggling to cover the very basics in New York.

5. The pace was unrelenting.

There’s a reason Sinatra sang, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” New York doesn’t hold your hand. I found myself in the office before 6 a.m. and heading home close to midnight. I’m not sure I took an actual lunch hour the entire time I worked there (but man, do I miss deli deliveries!). While my bosses and supervisors were all lovely people and supportive in their own way, there was not the kind of mothering or hand-holding that is truer to the Midwestern spirit. “Figure it out!” was the refrain I heard time and time again.

Punctuation, period.

By Madeline Morgan, Senior Editor/Writer 

Punctuation, like underwear, serves an important function: It holds disparate elements together without drawing attention to itself. At least most of the time.

Punctuation should never get in the way of content. Take the period for example. It is used for complete sentences (with a noun and verb) and lets the reader take a breath. Perhaps the biggest problem I face as an editor is long run-on sentences. Here is a not-so-recent (and cleverly disguised) example that begs to be split in two:

Following the gift from Maurice and Madam Magician, the most beautiful gift in the prince’s kingdom and one of the most beautiful gifts ever to a royal kingdom in the Scottish Lands, Royal Prince Henry received an outpouring of beautiful gifts from merchant businesses such as Robert Down’s shop and Junior Robert Down’s shop, which provided a most precious gift, and from individual townspeople and Prince Henry’s own serf and slave production facilities.

My kingdom for another period!

In advertising, the period is often used to provide emphasis: Stop. Look. Listen. But like anything useful, it can be abused: “Doing It Right. Before Your Eyes.”

Commas, parentheses, dashes and semi-colons bring clarity and order to a sentence. In short, commas allow for a short pause in a series, and they can be used to separate two simple sentences. Semi-colons can be used to separate two sentences, but they are kind of prissy and, to me, they violate the “not drawing attention to itself” maxim. But they have to be used to separate series containing internal commas:

We deliver extensive information to stakeholders through letters, newsletters and social media; we print yard signs, mailers and fliers; and we seek out endorsements from state and federal officials.

Commas, dashes and parentheses can be used to set off nonessential phrases (information that might be useful but isn’t necessary). While parentheses act as an aside, and commas as a pause, dashes do it with a flourish: She was the love of my life – the source of all that was good – and an excellent mouser.

(Clearly, I’m partial to dashes.)

As for colons … if you’ve read this far, you’ve seen them in use. And exclamation points! In public relations and advertising, we use a lot of these!

Or course, this has been a very cursory look at punctuation. There are many, many more rules; they are tiresome but necessary and too complicated to address in a blog. I’ve neglected apostrophes, quotation marks and hyphens (because they service words) and question marks (which I hope are self-explanatory).

Instead, I’ve focused on how simple punctuation can enhance sentences. In sum:

  • Generally, use periods to break up complete sentences, but don’t abuse them.
  • Use commas to offer gentle breaks in the action.
  • Use parentheses to whisper to your neighbor.
  • Avoid semi-colons if at all possible – they don’t make you look smarter!
  • Embrace the dash as an airy way of setting off information.
  • And consider the exclamation point as a treat you deserve only rarely.

Word Power: Yes, it Still Exists

Word Power: Yes, it still exists

Let’s be frank. Today, writing well still counts in many ways. But, sadly, there’s a lack of sophistication and purpose to much of what we read. Why? It may be that we’re living in a world of 140 characters, Facebook likes and Snap Chat. Short was always good, but clarity and meaning used to matter more.

At Hirons, we place a great deal of emphasis on good writing. We churn out a lot of copy: radio and television spots, news releases, website copy, brochures and fliers. Luckily, we have developed a strong, diverse team of communicators who provide solid, effective copy to clients. Our goal is that, as this material hits the printed page, Web or airwaves, people will respond to it. Our business depends on this skill. If we don’t write well, we don’t get a second chance.

Read more of COO Jim Parham’s blog here: PR Chronicle

Follow the PR Chronicle for real world advice from Jim Parham, who has 30 years of experience in the world of public relations.

 

 

PR for Dummies: A Basic Guide to Handling Media

By Blair Mulzer, Account Coordinator

My first call to a TV-station went horribly wrong.

I called the station, asked for the news desk, and waited for my call to be transferred. But then, once connected, I unloaded my script, ahem news pitch, as if every second wasted would result in less coverage for my client. Producers, news directors, reporters – all were scary, practically celebrities and too important to listen or care about my news tip, right? And then the fear of being rejected – being told “no thank you, we aren’t interested”, or even worse the lack of a real response, “we can’t promise anything, thanks.” – was all quite disheartening.

After venting to my coworker about my lack of success, it became evident that I had been doing it all wrong when she said, “Did you ask them how they are doing?”

Being relational, my friends, is the first and far most important ingredient I have found to be successful in media relations.

You, me and the news desk assistant, reporter, news director and producer all have something in common – we are all plain human. Regardless of our positions, we each have friends and family, a history, hobbies and lives outside of work, strange right? Not at all.

Therefore, it’s very important that you pitch your news like a person, not a robot. Have a discussion, not a one-sided lecture. As a PR professional, you need to build your media contacts. And you’re not going to get anywhere with people if you are a monotone individual who calls on occasion to pew out a news tip then hang up.

Let your personality free! It’s okay, actually great, to bond over your love for Kentucky if your reporter mentions she studied there – this actually happened, and as a result, is someone I now work often with. It’s a win-win relationship, you have a good story to sell, and they need a good story to broadcast.

Oh, and when your new Kentucky-loving media contact doesn’t use your story one time, it’s okay. Respect their right to choose the best story – because sometimes it’s just not the right fit or time.

This brings me to my next point, target someone who your story might actually make sense to, and be smart about it.

As a former editor-in-chief, I received numerous pitches a day. The ones that stuck out were not the 300-word, detailed story ideas, they were the short, direct and personal ones – A targeted, personal phone call or email that aligns with that reporter’s beat or topic of interest will go a long way for you.

And once you understand how to tell your story like a relational being who has done their homework, it’s time to follow up. Many pitches get buried in a reporter’s inbox, so make sure your story is top of mind without being pushy or forceful. That means, don’t call repeatedly. Send a follow up email later in the day with the charge that you will give them a call the next day or so to check in.

In addition, make their job as EASY as possible. Reporters often run around like chickens with their heads chopped off.

A longtime Indianapolis reporter told what a typical day looks like for her and other reporters. Most mornings she has no idea what story she will be submitting to her station that day. So when she is scrolling through her emails in the morning, she looks for the story idea that is both relevant and engaging to her audience and makes her life a little easier. That is, it is a huge bonus if you can offer up pictures and/or b-roll, interviews with a variety of people – because all news stories need to be well-rounded – and if you have a track record of being easily reachable.

While there are many other tips to offer up, these are the absolute basics. Be relational and respectful, create personal and targeted pitches, follow up, but don’t harass, and make a reporter’s job easy by covering as many of their needs as possible.