Whether you’re brand new to the world of PR or you have a bit of experience with it (maybe you’ve done some of your own DIY outreach or have worked with an agency in the past), there are still likely plenty of tactics and strategies that you may come across that will be new to you. One such tactic is that of the media deskside. But what is a media deskside and how can you put it to work for you to help you better connect with the media?
Here, we’re breaking down all of the deskside details, from what it even is to why you’d want to schedule them to how you can make the most of the opportunity.
What is a media deskside?
A media deskside is sort of how it sounds: a meeting between journalists and PR pros or brand reps that often takes place where the reporter or editor works. Because you’re able to meet in person, it’s an opportunity to go deeper and explain more about the brand, products, services, and more. Not only that, but with face-time can come added connection, and since your media relations program is all about building connections and relationships with members of the media, you don’t want to underestimate the difference that desksides and other meetings can make.
Media deskside benefits
There are tons of potential benefits to having one-on-one meetings with journalists. Whether it takes place beside a journalist’s desk or at a local coffee shop, getting to talk to them when you have their undivided attention can make all the difference when it comes to landing that coveted media coverage.
- Establishing a connection - Desksides make it easier to interact, have conversation, and find common ground than exchanging emails. While you might not think that there’s much of a need to personally connect with journalists, getting to know them can help you get more coverage for yourself or your clients while also making yourself into a more trusted source for future stories.
- More detail - Pitch emails should be kept short and sweet, but when you’re chatting with journalists in person, you’ll have more time to go into detail. Journalists can ask questions if they have them, but you’ll also be able to just better explain all kinds of information that they’ll need in order to write a well-rounded, accurate story.
- Exclusive offerings - Though you can, of course, offer exclusives via email, you can also take the opportunity to offer exclusive information when meeting with them in person. Journalists love exclusives because being the first to break a story really matters. While they most likely won’t take absolutely any piece of exclusive information that comes their way, offering an exclusive may boost your chances of landing coverage.
- Building relationships - Regularly meeting with journalists in person can foster continued connection, potentially making it more likely that they’ll continue to cover your news in the future.
What to do to prepare for a media deskside
Though it might be tempting, it’s not a good idea to go into a deskside unprepared. Make sure you’re ready so that you can really wow them.
- Do your research - Just as you want to do research before you send a pitch, it’s important to do a little research before you meet with a journalist in person. Make sure you know a bit about what they cover, the kinds of things they’ve been working on lately, and more to help determine if they’re a good fit for the story you’re hoping to pitch.
- Make it personal - Put that research to good use and make sure to personalize your presentation or conversation with the journalist you’re meeting. Don’t just tell them information that they could’ve easily read on their own. Show them why their readers will care about the story and how they can put their own spin on it.
- Keep it concise - Just like journalists get lots of emails, they also have many calls and meetings throughout the day. Focus on your main points and personalization so that the meeting is valuable for them and you’re able to touch on everything you wanted them to know.
- Bring samples - As long as the product is small, feel free to bring along a sample to offer the journalist if they take an interest in trying it. Many journalists have mixed feelings on unsolicited PR packages, but keeping the offer low-stakes and having it with you if they want it is an easy way to get it into the hands of the journalists you’re hoping will write about you.
- Don’t forget to follow up - After you meet, make sure you send them an email to thank them for their time, send any more information or answer questions, and keep in touch. Even if they’re not working on something that you’d be a fit for right now, they may be in the near future.
A media deskside can set you apart from competitors who are likewise trying to land coverage in the same sorts of outlets or written by the same people. Because it can be such a great tool, it’s not something you should overlook. With a little preparation, you can have a successful deskside, solidify relationships with media, and hopefully boost your chances of increased media coverage.