In a public relations professional’s life there is always a moment when they have to contact a reporter for the first time to pitch an article or a piece of news. In order to do that, PR people do as much research as possible on that reporter – subjects covered, style, brands etc. Pitching Notes is a free website that helps PR professionals share the experiences they’ve had with reporters. The site allows media representatives to be present as well and to offer relevant information on how they want to be pitched, and which factors would influence the rate of response to pitches.
In order to benefit from the site, you have to create an account. Once it is created, users can set profiles using their data, depending on the type of account they have registered for. PR pros can rate a reporter on several criteria: responsiveness, professionalism, amicability, and overall rating. PR professionals can search for reporters (directly or using the lists available) using filters, or other options like most popular or highest rated. The site also offers the possibility to favourite reporters and to compare profiles.
“I learned a long time ago you’re not going to get anywhere by sending mass emails to reporters,” says 31-year-old Clary, who has more than a decade of public relations experience in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Atlanta. “Why not create an online site where PR professionals can share their experiences dealing with specific reporters, their likes and dislikes, and help others improve how they pitch stories?”
“We have more than 1,200 registered users,” said Danielle Spears, 32, a public relations account executive at Anson-Stoner in Winter Park.
The site currently hosts profiles of over 200 reporters from nearly 150 local, national, and international newspapers, television networks, websites, and magazines. Pitching Notes is a free service and is not monetized now, but Spears says that they are “looking and waiting for a way to monetize the site while keeping it free to members”, considering advertising as an option.
This site has a good idea, but it is indeed a delicate situation, as many people fail to share good experiences, but immediately complain about negative aspects. However, keeping a good tone and not allowing insults could indeed be good for PR professionals as they could recommend reporters (rating them, etc.) and share what went wrong for them in the communication with a reporter. The first such opinion has already been shared: “After we sent [a press release] to her with more info on the new product, she never responded. We gave her an exclusive, drafted up a press release and sat on it until it was no longer newsworthy, making it impossible to give to any other tech reporters.”
Compiling information found on this site with other relevant data from social networks profiles, personal blogs and media outlets’ websites could lead to a better interaction between PR professionals and journalists and customized pitches.