As you learned from Annelise last week, we attended the 16th Annual Valley Publicity Summit last Saturday. Besides being able to finally meet the faces behind the emails that I send pitches to on the regular, I enjoyed seeing many Cronkite alumni excelling in their careers since May graduation (one who even told me she reads all my blog posts, you know who you are), and taking away honest advice from a panel made up of our local media.
Since I took so much from my first SPJ Valley Publicity Summit, I think it is only fair I give some advice of my own.
My first piece of advice is doing your homework. By homework I mean reading the bios of the people you plan to pitch and if they are from a print publication be familiar with the recent issues. Trust me when I say they’ll appreciate you not sitting down blindly.
Next, have fun and show your personality. Beyond pitching my stories, I had good conversations. I was asked about my life after Cronkite, got to hear stories of how much Cronkite has changed and even caught up with past guest lecturers from my college courses.
Lastly, follow up with the reporters/editors that you pitched. Thank them for their time and include something significant that you took away from your conversation. You just sparked a new relationship, and after all this is public relations so you might as well keep the spark going.