Media Training: Strategies For Contacting Newspaper and Magazine Reporters
The best time of day to pitch a newspaper reporter on the phone is usually between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., which is when they typically eat lunch at their desks, or after 4 p.m., which is when they are more likely to be finished with all the stories they need to write for the day. Because reporters head home around 6 pm, it is best to contact them before then.
There’s no perfect time when it comes to contacting reporters because of individual deadlines and work habits. However good times for this generally range from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., or after 7:30 p.m.. After 7:30, most magazine writers have finished their daily reportorial tasks, and may be able to focus more on long-term story development, if that’s what a company’s news is about .
The best way to contact newspaper and magazine reporters is through email or phone. Cold-calling or cold-emailing journalists isn’t advisable unless there is an existing professional relationship or an amazing story idea that will dazzle them into paying attention.
While doing publicity, the best time of day to call a newspaper or magazine reporter is between 9 and 11 in the morning. Calling within this timeframe is more likely to get a good reaction from reporters, because in the morning they’re more relaxed, and are free from the pressures of deadlines.
If a reporter is called in the morning, the call is more likely to get through to them since they likely haven’t gone into their meetings yet. Plus, energy levels are higher in the morning, and that helps get a company’s message across. .
Keep in mind that the best time to contact journalists varies by media type. For example, television networks and stations air newscasts around the clock, while daily newspapers and magazines publish new editions just once a day.
How to Get a Reporter’s Attention
Be mindful of deadline pressures: Reporters are usually on tight deadlines, so they need answers quickly. When contacting reporters, being prepared to respond within a few hours or even minutes is important, regardless of what method is used to reach out. If a reporter is working on a story that’s relevant to a business and they ask for an interview, suggest times when an in-person meeting can be held.
Target the right journalist: Find the reporter who covers stories that matter, one that already writes about a relevant industry. When calling, be sure to speak to the reporter or editor that covers the relevant industries. Most newspapers and magazines have verticals that cover different industries; for example, an editor for small business news will not be the same person who covers technology news. Call ahead of time and find out who covers the type of story that will be put out.
Best Time to Send a Press Release
The best time to send a press release or pitch letter is early in the morning. Email inboxes typically get flooded early during workdays, so it is more likely for the right reporters to see messages sent during prime time hours: 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
It’s also best to send a pitch on Monday or Tuesday because editors are often at meetings or out of the office on Friday afternoon, and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Therefore they’re not likely to see messages sent on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning until Monday morning, when their inboxes will likely be flooded with emails.
While companies might think the best time to call a reporter is when they are at work, it’s better to reach them through email or social media when they’re off duty. That’s because they should be reached when they feel relaxed enough to read a pitch, not when they are rushed because they’re trying to meet their next deadline.