Each year, we are lucky to have the opportunity to attend the “Valley Publicity Summit,” hosted by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It’s a great gathering of PR folks and media representatives — producers, editors and reporters – from traditional and online outlets.

Beyond getting an opportunity to do some “speed pitching” one on one with these media reps, the summit also hosts a media panel to talk about how the media want to receive story pitches. This year, panelists provided great insights specifically into how they like to receive information.

As communication professionals, we need to recognize that just because we’ve always written news releases, for example, doesn’t mean they are still the most effective tool for pitching media. In fact, across the board, the panelists at this summit said news releases are dead to them.

Here are some of the best – and most emphatic – tips these journalists provided:

  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Send it via email – don’t pitch them via social media.
  • Use an advisory format, NOT a news release. Cover the “Who, What, Where, When and Why” in short, concise sentences or bullets.
  • Your subject line is key – make it descriptive and include a date if it is related to an event.
  • Don’t include attachments. Do provide a link to Dropbox for relevant existing photos and videos.
  • Include a brief summary of the kinds of visuals available on-site. Provide names and titles of people who can be interviewed.
  • Give the name and mobile number for an on-site contact person.
  • Don’t include a logo in the body of the email. It just causes problems on their end.
  • Provide for media parking and include information about it in a note on the advisory. Also include information about the nearest major intersection to the site.