News and Insights

Media Chops: The Building Blocks of Communications

May 31, 2022

The media landscape is always evolving, and communicators are navigating a constantly shifting playing field, from integrating owned and earned strategies for maximum campaign effectiveness, to correcting the spread of misinformation. Clients see communications professionals as counselors for connecting the dots between their companies’ narratives and objectives to the articles of agenda-setting journalists. Journalists, working the media grind and sifting through hundreds – if not thousands – of emails a day, are looking for communications professionals to craft authentic, non-promotional news stories.

We scan Google Alerts and Twitter every day, respond to reporter inquiries and brainstorm creative story ideas with clients. We know what will make a pitch stand out. We know our friendlies across the gamut of media publications. We know how to PR. And yet, there is always value in stopping, reflecting on what we do, and considering something new. So, it was incredible that the leaders of our FINN Partners Health Practice championed the idea to exchange information and learn new things within our profession.

We are constantly challenged to learn new things in healthcare PR. Potentially life-changing therapeutics are being created by researchers every day. Advocates are out there standing up for health equity. We’re learning about successful clinical trials, new methods of drug delivery, and powerful players in the healthcare space.  We have the privilege of telling these stories.

But even if we have the most important story to tell, no one will know about it without reporters who are willing to share that story with the world.

From a germ of an idea in October 2021, the first annual FINN Partners Health Media Summit took place on May 17-18. The two-day summit was a fantastic collaboration with FINN Partners colleagues around the globe for training and education on the earned media aspect of the business. Colleagues from FINN offices in Europe, Israel, China, and across North America presented on a variety of topics related to our day-to-day work. What was most exciting was that we were joined by six stellar journalists who gave us an inside look at the life of a reporter, and how we can better serve as reliable resources for them. 

While our colleagues presented on different topics, such as working with KOLs, using Twitter for PR and phone pitching, there were several themes that echoed throughout. These insights can make us smarter media specialists:

  • Media is an ever-changing landscape: Ariane Lovell, Erich Sandoval and Jason Cao provided an overview of what we’re seeing in the 2022 media landscape. One thing is for certain, we are not yet in the “post-Covid era” and as such, reporter beats are still focused on the latest Covid news. 
  • Leverage your expert sources: Dave Lieberson and Layne Litsinger shared insights on how best to use expert sources. Bringing them into planning and story building can be vital! 
  • Media elements for success: Bryan Gibbs and Becky Gohsler dove into how to better set up media efforts for success, with an emphasis on how to make an embargoed and exclusive outreach efforts work to secure interest. 
  • We’re in the business of relationships: Raoul Wootliff shared reflections of his time as a journalist and the value in truly learning the needs and interests of the journalists whom you’re pitching. We also delved into the power of calling reporters to get their opinion on a story idea and secure interest quickly. 
  • Get to know the reporters you’re pitching: Glenn Silver and Aviva Sapir walked us through the value of taking the time to learn about each reporter you are pitching, whether via Twitter, Google, and by taking the time to read a reporter’s recent coverage to get a better understanding of the types of stories they like to tell. 
  • Placing op-eds? Know your target: Arielle Berstein Pinsof and John Bianchi highlighted the value in staying flexible in your op-ed strategy. There might be breaking news or another timely story that an editor will choose to prioritize. But before getting started on an op-ed draft, pick which outlet you’d like to see publish the piece so you can have its editorial guidelines and target audience in mind. 

What perhaps was the most important takeaway is that FINN is powered by passionate people who are dedicated to using storytelling to make a difference in the world. Our global team of media experts who live and breathe all things media remain ready and available to guide our teams on media strategies and creative ways to reach broader audiences for your clients. We truly are #OneFINN and continue to support one another every day. 

We look forward to making this opportunity for reflection and professional development an annual event, as well as expanding it to specific facets of the industry.

A big “thank you” to all of our presenters; we could not have done it with you! For the full FINN conversation, follow the hashtag on Twitter: #finnhealthmedia.

TAGS: Health

POSTED BY: Laura O’Neill, Nechama Feuerstein

Laura O’Neill Nechama Feuerstein