Have you been reading the headlines about the newspaper industry recently? Because I used to work in it, I have. And it isn’t pretty.
Declining circulation and ad revenues are forcing many newspaper companies to lay off editors, beat reporters, newsroom clerks, photographers and anyone they can do without.
I conducted a telephone seminar yesterday for people in The Publicity Hound Mentor Program, and I identified the incredible shrinking newsroom as one of 10 trends that will affect the way we manage our publicity campaigns this year.
Here’s how fewer newsroom employees affect you:
—Reporters are doing double- and triple-duty. So the phrase “How can I help you?” is the most important question you can ask a journalist. (See “How to be a Valuable Source the Media Love.”)
—Newspapers will rely on freelancers to replace staff writers. So find out which freelancers cover your industry, and get to work building relationships with them.
—Learn how to take good-quality photos because newspapers will be more inclined to accept them. If you can offer a photo with a story, that might tip the scales in your favor. My ebook “How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign” shows you how.
—If you pitch a story to a newspaper, an editor might reply, “I like the idea. Do you think you can write it yourself?” Of course you can. Make it sound just like an article a reporter at that publication would write. (If you’re in my Mentor Program, I’ll show you how, and I’ll serve as your personal writing coach. I have two more openings in the program.)
—The physical newspaper is shrinking too. So don’t forget online versions of newspapers and magazines. Some of these have their own editors, and you need to know who they are. If an article about you is posted online, it usually lives there forever. But the shelf life of a print newspaper totals about 24 hours.
—Pitching succinctly and convincingly is more important than ever. Launch into a rambling pitch while talking to a reporter on the phone and you’ll likely hear a “click” on the other end.
Raleigh Pinskey, the master at turning long, boring pitches into tempting 10-second pitches, explained how to do it a during a telephone seminar I conducted with her called “How to Create the Perfect 30-Second Pitch.”