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by TJ Lane, Sr Acct Executive, W2M
Emmy & Peabody award winner

My first news producing gig was almost 20 years ago.  It was for a 5 minute cut-in that aired in the middle of the day at a small station in a Florida market ranked in the 160s.  There was no executive producer, no segment producers, and no line producers — just one producer, and that was me.

I remember asking the assignment editor how to find the best stories because none of the reporters had filed yet at noon.  “Read the wires, make your beat calls, and you can even look at the newspaper,” was her advice.  Next to the wire printer, there was a fax machine that never stopped working, and half of the papers spilled into the trash can underneath it.  “What’s that?” I asked.

The assignment editor said I didn’t need to worry about it.  That’s just where press releases come in, she explained, and somebody usually goes through it once or twice a week to see if anything important came through.  I followed her advice, and produced newscasts based on wire copy, beat calls, and newspapers.  Who knows what I missed by not paying attention to that fax machine?

Today’s newsroom is radically different.  Wire copy doesn’t get printed, it’s immediately searchable in iNews.  Journalists are savvy about social media.  Press releases don’t get faxed in, they get e-mailed.  Through the changes, one question remains the same:  As an outsider, how do you keep your pitch out of delete folders (modern counterparts to yesterday’s fax machine trash can) and get the attention of media gatekeepers?

Three ways:

1) Be findable on social media with outstanding content marketing

2) Post a regular and readable blog –and use top content marketing methods to make sure it’s well distributed by your team on social media outlets

3) Stay close to your clients and customers, and consider reporting on research you conduct with them.

4) Make press releases part of the content marketing cycle–they remain a useful tool despite what my first boss said!