PR pro tip: pitching after Sandy

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when so much of the tristate area is either underwater or without power (including Muck Rack’s office!), we received the following question that’s on many peoples’ mind from Laura Fitton at HubSpot (a Muck Rack Pro subscriber):

"I’d LOVE to see the Muck Rack blog tackle guidance for PR departments on how and when to resume normal journalist outreach post-Sandy. So much misinformation going around right now." 

Stuart Elliott at the New York Times reminded us yesterday: “To those PR people who think you’ve waited a decent interval after  to resume business as usual … you would be wrong.” 

The show much go on and we thought we’d help our friends in PR.

From our own Natan Edelsburg, some tips: 
  1. Check a journalist’s Muck Rack profile before reaching out to see if they’re back at work. If they’re tweeting about work things (especially if it’s aside from Hurricane coverage)you’ll know they’re ok. If they’re not, there’s a possibility they have no power. Of course, they may have no power and just tweeted from an iPhone, so use good judgment. 
  2. Look up where a journalist’s office is to see likelihood they have power. 
  3. Don’t pitch yet if they’re affected, unless they’re back at work and it’s urgent.
  4. Start your email off asking if everything’s okay. That one’s just common sense. 
  5. Keep your pitch very short and under 300 characters. It’s likely no one has time to read your full press release today.
In regards to #2, we found out the following:
According to a latest report in Reuters, 237,000 customers in Manhattan are still without electricity. 

Star Tribune looked into which tech companies are in the dark

Huffington Post, which itself went down during Sandy - along with Gawker and BuzzFeed, reported that city streets were surprisingly newspaper-less this morning

Side note: we’d love to know if your media company has electricity. Please get in touch (delia at muckrack dot com).
Do you have any other post-Sandy pitching tips? Let us know by e-mailing delia at muckrack dot com.
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    the muck rack team has some ideas for pitching post-Sandy
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