Every Friday since the pandemic shut things down in March (here in the U.S.), we’ve highlighted communicators and marketers who at first were trying to figure out which part of the sky just fell on them in My Hot Mess. Then we shifted to those who are crushing the pandemic with Survive & ThriveNow it’s time to get back to business, even if it’s not totally normal. We’re going to do that with an Ask Me Anything series—an elevation of our previous Spin Sucks Question series.

Today, Julia Brolin asks three questions: 1) How do I track my media relations efforts; 2) How do you have the “this isn’t newsworthy” conversation; and 3) How do you get media relations results when the story is behind the paywall?

Welcome back to another Ask Me Anything, which is a new series where we talk to our friends, our viewers, and our community. about what they would like to know. The whole point is to stump me. If I don’t know the answer, I will ask one of my smart friends to join me.

Let’s take a look at the mailbag.

The first question comes from Christopher S. Penn. He asks:

Can someone help me figure out how to expand the maximum training window for the T5 transformer in Google Colab?

That was not English. So the answer is no.

Douglas Burdett asks:

What do women want?

Douglas? I will tell you it’s three things: wine, a book, and peace and quiet.

(My intern added, “And kids,” which I vehemently disagree with ESPECIALLY during a pandemic when I haven’t even peed alone in eight months.)

Now that we have those out of the way, Julia Brolin has three really good questions. Let’s get started!

How Do I Track Media Relations Results?

Her first question is this:

How about tracking media relations efforts and reporter follow-up? I use a combo of spreadsheets, my inbox, and LinkedIn messages. There has to be a better way!

I’m very sad that Iris PR is no longer because it was a perfect media relations CRM. It was perfect for this. You would attach a code in the body of your email and it would track everything in one place. And then you could have pretty dashboards to send to your boss or to your client. It was perfect, but COVID. Well, COVID.

In place of my beautiful Iris, you can use a CRM. We use Hubspot for one client. You can attach the same kind of code and then create reports. It’s not as pretty, but it definitely works better than spreadsheets and your inbox and LinkedIn messages.

I will say that if you’re pitching on social media, using your CRM won’t work; you’ll still have to use your spreadsheet until you move to email.

Ideally,  you’ll get everybody  into the CRM so you can track your media relations efforts.

This Isn’t News

The second question Julia had was:

How do you have the “this isn’t newsworthy” convo with leadership?

We actually just had this happen. We stopped fighting it and did two things. We gave them a list of publications that do these types of non-news items and then we pitched a couple of the publications they wanted us to and let our reporter friends tell them no.

In our own efforts, we had one reporter say, “REALLY??” and we forwarded her email to the client so he would see it.

We also offered to spend $1,500 to put it on the newswire. They decided it wasn’t THAT important all on their own.

In these cases, there’s a little bit of education with some give and take. You also could ask them if they read that news if it would be interesting to them. The answer is almost always no.

Media Relations With a Paywall

Her last question was:

How do I get around the paywall, when it comes to media relations? It’s hard to pitch a publication if a paywall is involved because we can’t share on social.

This one might stump me!

Granted, I’m not the one pitching day-to-day, but I’ve never come across this. I’m also at that point in my career where I’d be like, “Thank you for featuring XYZ. I would love to help you drive readers, but I can’t do that if the story is behind the paywall.” I’d let them decide how to handle.

Let me come back to this one. I have to talk to some friends who are way smarter about this than I am.

Ask Me Anything

If you have a question that you’d like to stump me on or get one of my very smart friends to answer, drop a comment in the (free) Spin Sucks Community.

I will be back next week. I’m sure my intern will be, too.

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich