Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Alyssa Palloti: Increasingly, the Touchdown team is seeing breaking news and quick turnaround opportunities yielding the most success. We just went through two-plus years of seemingly non-stop historical events, which has stretched news rooms thin to keep up. Thus, breaking stories are taking more precedence for more journalists than ever.
While long-lead contributed article and briefing opportunities will always have a place in PR programs, if PR professionals aren’t constantly reading the top publications in their industries to keep up, they could miss out on key opportunities to insert their clients into immediate news cycles. This need will continue to increase. Just be sure your input is educational and informative, not ambulance chasing or promotional.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?
1) Customization, customization, customization. Never just blanket pitch without reading the reporters’ beat information, social posts and recent articles. By studying their interests and focuses, you can ensure your story offers are relevant and increase your chances of a response.
2) Touchdown also finds that when answering email questions or Qwoted opportunities, if a client can only answer some of the questions directly, it’s best to give quality answers to those the client can answer directly and inform the writer the others are not in their range of expertise. It’s more effective than giving mediocre answers to all questions.
3) Be responsive! Journalists are on deadlines, too. The easier you can make their lives, the better. Be respectful and keep them updated on where your source stands at all times.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
Palloti: Working in a constantly innovating area such as tech and cybersecurity PR means nearly every day, new startups are emerging on the scene, which means more competition to get journalists’ attention.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
Palloti: Customization (again) and creativity are behind it all. Our team scours the news daily to find fresh angles around current events. It’s also all about relationships. When you show respect for journalists’ time and focus consistently, they rely on you and are more likely to read or listen to what you have to say about your clients.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2022 square with the future of journalism?
Palloti: Hybrid and remote work were already commonplace in journalism, but it is now even more prominent — and it’s made its way to PR as the norm. This distributed nature of work means traditional press tours, when execs visit certain cities and meet with a number of local journalists, could become a thing of the past. The two industries will value face time at events even more and rely on video calls for important briefings.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?
Palloti: In addition to looking for someone with the ability to executive on PR tactics (pitching, writing, media list building, etc.), be open to creative thinkers, deep, analytical thinkers, and/or those with a talent for reading people/making instant connections. You can teach the tactics over time, but those intangibles make PR folks even more effective in their own ways.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Palloti: It’s a two-way relationship. You can’t just ask a journalist to write for you. You need to make every pitch worth their valuable and limited time, and provide valuable information for their readers so you each see benefits from your work together.
Qwoted: Anything else to add?
Palloti: Make sure you’re in a field you’re passionate about. When you love the story you’re telling, those reading it will, too.