Industry Thoughts: An interview with Natalie Bannerman, Capacity Magazine’s Reporter
Here at Babel we really cherish the relationships we build, not only with our clients and service providers, but also the media we engage with on a daily and weekly basis.
The first in our Industry Thoughts series, we’ve teamed up with journalist Natalie Bannerman to gain a direct insight into her pitch preferences and how PRs can make themselves as useful, as possible.
Capacity Magazine is an example of a top-tier B2B trade publication which we frequently reach out to. Founded nearly twenty years ago, at the millennium, Capacity – part of Capacity Media – is a source of news and events focused entirely on the rapidly changing telecoms market.
Natalie Bannerman is a Reporter for the magazine, and is very used to hearing from the Babel team about news and stories from our relevant clients, so we thought we could put some questions to her, to gain some really valuable insight into what she’s looking for, as a journalist.
Natalie, thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few of our questions!
To start us off, may we have a little bit of background about you…
Could you tell us how you got into journalism?
I studied Media and Journalism at University, so my entering this field is not a coincidence. This was a natural progression of my love of English and writing.
And what is your favourite thing about being a journalist?
The different people I get to interact with and speak to for interviews or features. This job gives you access to people you would not ordinarily get to speak to. People from the most obscure places, doing the unique jobs all the way up to CEO and company chair people.
When we’re reaching out to you…
What makes a story pitch compelling?
Compelling stories are ones that are both relevant and newsworthy. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had pitches about stories that aren’t even relevant to our industry or if it is, it’s tenuous at best. Take the time to really learn our audience and subject matter before pitching stories. Additionally, even when they are relevant, there’s a tendency for them to be more marketing than editorial. Popular ones are announcements about companies attending certain events, or how a company has been named number one for something. It’s just not of interest to our readership.
How do you prefer to be pitched to?
I prefer email with a follow up call if anything requires clarification. Email gives me time to look over the idea in detail. Moreover, if I am really busy, I’m likely to forget every part of a conversation we’ve had over the phone.
Do you respond to pitches from people you don’t know? And what would make you reject a story?
I do respond to pitches from people I don’t know if the pitch is really good and with a noteworthy company. I reject stories that aren’t relevant, noteworthy, or if we’ve covered the topic in detail before.
Do you mind a PR following up with you after a pitch?
Once is fine, but being bombarded is annoying. We don’t always have the time to respond to everything personally, and chasing me will not change or speed this up.
Now on to social media…
Which social network is the most valuable to you, professionally?
LinkedIn and Twitter
Do you like it when PR pros follow you on social media?
Yes, I’m always looking to increase my following.
How can PRs make themselves as useful to you as possible?
Don’t be gatekeepers! I understand that part of the job of PR is to filter through media requests, but often it does feel as though when it’s our turn to get access to someone within a specific company, all of a sudden everyone is unavailable for interview or comment.
Additionally, know our readership and what they would want to read, and then tailor your pitches accordingly.
What is it you look for with our clients? And how can they (the clients) maximise their own chances of securing coverage?
Educate your clients on what makes a story newsworthy and push that as much as you can when submitting releases. In addition, no journo would say no to an exclusive, or two!
Thank you again for your time, Natalie! Your insightful answers will be very valuable for budding PR professionals and our clients alike.