Many publicists pay more attention to pitching reporters at print publications like daily newspapers, and less time pitching reporters who write for the online versions.
Here are four reasons why that’s a mistake:
1. Newspapers are continuing to tighten their print publications because of the high cost of newsprint.
2. Some smaller daily papers are folding or, like the Capitol Times in Madison, Wis., cutting back from publishing daily to just a few times a week.
3. A letter to the editor or an article that can’t fit into the print version can easily find its way into the online version where space isn’t at a premium.
4. Many people have stopped subscribing to printed newspapers and, instead, read the online version for free.
Scott Karp, president and CEO of Publish2 Inc., wrote an article titled “Why I Subscribed to the Washington Post Sunday Print Edition.” It says newspapers used to view the web version of stories as something that adds vale to the printed version.
“Now they have to flip the equation. The web is at the center, and the print newspaper must add value, as a complement.”
If you want to get into a particular newspaper, or you’re a PR person hoping to place a client into a certain publication, research the print and online versions. Some larger newspapers have separate staffs that work online and actually compete against reporters for the print version.
Here are three tips on how to do research:
—Visit the newspaper’s website and see if you can find an online version.
—If so, subscribe to the RSS feed daily and read it regularly. Compare it to the printed version.
—Once you’ve identified a reporter or reporters who you want to pitch, Google them and see what else you can learn about them. Do they blog? If so, post a comment to their blog, a fabulous way to get in front of them long before you pitch. (See “Let Bloggers Create Publicity for You.“) Do they write freelance articles? If so, you might mention the article when you pitch them.
When you’re creating your media plan, be sure to work online journalists into it. See “How to Create a Media Plan.”