Coffee, Breakfast and Paul Maryniak: What I Learned

Yesterday, eight of us PR pros had the chance to connect in a more intimate setting in downtown Gilbert. The guest was none other than Paul Maryniak, a veteran newsman and executive editor of several Times Publications, including the East Valley Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News, SanTan Sun News, Scottsdale Progress and Gilbert Sun News.
Ready for the takeaways?
Paul conducts interviews both in-person and on the phone. However, he mentioned that he often conducts what he calls “e-interviews.” He says that by sending questions via email, the recipient isn’t put on the spot. Instead, they can take the time to really think about what they want to say. People open up and feel much more relaxed, therefore their answers are more elaborate. [Reminder, this is why he prefers this method. It is not because you/your client are not worthy of a phone call or in-person meeting]
Let’s say you have this amazing client doing an amazing thing. The only problem? They are based in Phoenix. So how do you get them featured in the East Valley Tribune or the Gilbert Sun? Find the connection! Perhaps the owner lives in Gilbert or perhaps they have a strong impact in the East Valley. Get creative.
That brings up another point, though. If there is no connection, don’t force it. Paul mentioned he gets pitches all the time from people in the wrong zone (some even out of state) that have no relevancy at all. This just comes off as lazy. Don’t waste your time or theirs.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. The pitch.

  • It’s every PR pros first battle. The subject line. How do we get our email to stand out among the thousands of emails that editors and reporters receive daily?! His advice: Don’t sweat it too much. He reads every email and is more interested in what you have to offer.
  • “Be short on the adverbs and adjectives and be long in the detail.”
  • Don’t just pitch the subject, pitch the story. That’s great that your client is launching this new service, but why should people care about it?
  • What’s the human element? Who is the person behind the company? What’s their story? These are important considerations to include.
  • Speak to him in a language he can understand. If you use a whole bunch of acronyms without clarification of what they stand for and you use words specific to the subject that no one has ever heard of… well.. you lost him.

Some other helpful tips.
Have a huge event coming up? Don’t wait until two days before the launch party to invite media! By giving him a month’s notice, he could have teased the event four different times in five different publications.
Ask you client how their kids are doing. He loves to feature children in the area and will of course, add a plug about the parents and the company.
Don’t forget about op-eds! This is another great way to get exposure. A two-page spread in the paper is great, but an opinion piece has the power to generate awareness, too.
Bottom line: it’s not the company that makes the story. It’s not the service they provide or the products they offer. It’s about the people behind the organization and the community in which they serve.

Written by
at Dec 6, 2018

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