Ward to the Wise

Worldcom Wednesdays: Ward Talks Big Apple Media Trends with Coyne PR

Norman-Booth-VP-Coyne-PRThis year, Ward celebrates an exciting 25 years in the public relations and communications business and we thought, what better way to highlight our global footprint than to showcase the expertise of our Worldcom partners?  This week, we launch Worldcom Wednesdays, a new monthly series on Ward to the Wise featuring our partners in highly topical Q&A conversations pertaining to their specialized areas of expertise, best practices and emerging trends.

For our inaugural post, Ward sat down with Dr. Norman Booth, vice president and public relations specialist at Coyne PR to hear his take on the current hustle and bustle of the New York media landscape.

Q. Coyne PR has offices in New York City, the media mecca of the world. Describe the current media culture there. 
A. Extremely fast-paced and competitive. Reporters receive thousands of pitches daily and it’s tough to break through the clutter..

Q. Do reporters, editors and producers respond to PR professionals with a good story?  Are they more amenable to your correspondence because you’re local? Do outsiders have to work even harder to grab their attention or will a strong news angle win out?
A. A good story is paramount, but the key to getting a response is making sure you have the right reporter for the story. You could have a great story, but if you’re pitching the wrong person they will never be interested in it. While being closer does make it easier to meet with reporters in person we don’t feel that reporters are more amenable to our correspondence solely because we’re local, but being in the same time zone is a huge benefit. You want to make sure you’re reaching out to reporters at times when it’s most convenient for them.

Q. What changes have you seen in New York-based media?  Are more outlets opening or closing? Are there any new niche media outlets on the rise? What has the impact of digital publishing had on New York media? What do current staffing levels look like given the state of the business…are they in decline or holding steady? What are new risks and opportunities for PR practitioners as a result of these trends?
A.One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is the shrinking of newsroom staff and a heavier reliance on contributed content and syndication models. The opportunities here to create content and drive the news rather than simply comment on it are growing significantly, but this also comes with some risks. One of the effects of a shrinking newsroom is that many publications are syndicating content from other channels and partners. There is a greater level of concentration in the business which is rapidly eliminating competition among some of the larger outlets. This is great when your client’s news appears in multiple outlets from one placement, but it can also make it more challenging to find the right person to reach out to and break through the clutter.

Q. For clients outside New York looking for a national media presence, what’s an example of a minimum budget spend level for media relations?  For example, what should a client from the Southwest realistically expect and prepare for to obtain results with top-tier business media?
A.There is no one perfect number, but the key thing to get across to clients here is that getting national media is not immediate and it is expensive. Breaking through the clutter of thousands of pitches takes a significant time investment and involves a much more strategic media approach than a few quick story ideas.

Q. Some towns are press conference towns and some aren’t. Some media outlets respond to events and some don’t. What surefire tactics do New York-based media respond to? 
A. Events are great if you have really compelling speakers, but with shrinking newsrooms it’s really difficult for reporters to get away from their desks. One of the things we find works best is to go to the reporter. Make time to visit the area and offer to meet with them at their desk for 15 minutes and bring them a cup of coffee. Make it a simple conversational meeting that will benefit both of you. You, as a PR professional, can find out more about what types of stories appeal to the reporter and some things they’re looking to focus on in the coming months. And the reporter gets an opportunity to learn more about your clients and the types of things you work on.

Q. What else should Ward to the Wise readers know about working with NY media?
A. Reporters, especially those based in NY, are busy and move at a really fast pace. Make your pitch straight forward, simple and get right to the point of why you’re contacting them.

Many thanks to our friends at Coyne PR for graciously sharing their insight and expertise. If you need help building and fostering relationships with leading business and trade media or need to extend the global reach of your PR, contact Ward’s award-winning public relations team today.


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