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Don't Be Creepy! Control Your Story! Presentations on Media Outreach

"Control your story" over a stack of newspapers

As a journalist and as a woman who is paid for her written opinions, I get a lot of attention -- and not all of it is good. Understandably, everyone wants to see positive stories about their endeavors in the press, but not everybody knows how to reach out to reporters in an appropriate way, especially on social media.

For its annual Social Summit, Social Media Club St. Louis (SMCSTL) asked me to share ways in which professionals can develop sincere relationships with journalists through social media and then pitch story ideas that reporters actually would want to take on. Basically, I talked about how to be a considerate person instead of an overbearing Lifetime movie stalker. The PR pros, communications officials, social media managers and business owners in attendance took plenty of notes and livetweeted the preso, and I became a trending topic on Twitter that day.

Since then, I've presented these ideas to other communications groups, leadership organizations and college classes.

I have two versions of this presentation. The first is a shorter straightforward presentation that gives a general overview of the issue as well as some do's and don'ts. The second is a longer preso that expands the original version with some content about preparing for media interviews plus a quiz about the presentation material. But fair warning: for any presentation, I often go off-script and add/subtract information based on what that day's audience is asking about.


Slideshare description (version one):

Want to find local journalists who might cover what your company, small business or organization is doing? Using social media is great for that, but if you approach reporters the wrong way, you'll come off like a desperate character in a Lifetime movie. This presentation, originally offered during Social Media Club St. Louis's 2017 Social Summit, will help you think through your local media outreach efforts and build sincere relationships with journos, ultimately landing you more media mentions. The presentation focuses on St. Louis-area media understanding and outreach, but some tenets can be adapted for other localities. National media databases and general PR tactics are not covered. There are a few slides that are for visual impact or in-person understanding only, but most of the presentation offers full context.

Slideshare description (version two):

How do you work with media when that's not usually your thing? What if you've never done media outreach before? What awesome thing can you say during your interview that will end up as a pull quote? I recently gave the St. Louis chapter of the New Leaders Council some entry-level information about how folks who are new to media outreach can build sincere relationships with reporters, pique reporters' interest in favorable story ideas and serve up those money soundbites. I pulled some of the info from my previous presentation about appropriately reaching out to reporters via social media and then added quiz questions/conversation starters plus content about what to say during your actual interview for a feature story. We also role-played through some ideas. This short presentation relates to local (St. Louis) features reporting for print and digital outlets; it doesn't cover national media, general PR strategies, specific pitch/email tactics, specific TV/radio considerations or tips for working with daily beat reporters. Most slides work without context from notes, but there are a few slides that tied directly to in-person storytelling. You'll make do.

A presentation slide about media outreach

A presentation slide about the source-reporter path

A presentation slide about how to contact reporters

A presentation slide with an imaginary conversation between a female reporter and a jerk marketing guy

A presentation slide asking what we've learned

A presentation slide with contact information for Allison Babka
Screenshot of a tweet that says Allison Babka is trending in St. Louis

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