Ethnic communities in the U.S. are growing. As communicators, we need to utilize smart tactics to reach them. For example, the demographics of my town of Saratoga, a quaint village nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, switched from mostly white to Asian probably around 2018. According to 2019 Census data, Saratoga is 49 percent Asian and 43 percent white.
Saratoga may be a small town, but it is near the heart of Silicon Valley, and thus close to Apple, Cisco, Intel and Netflixheadquarters. Our population includes many different audiences: affluent technology executives, engineers, software developers, doctors and lawyers, teachers, plumbers, retirees, stay-at-home dads and moms, singles with no kids and families. Because the population is so varied, multicultural media could help target the specific audience you want to reach.
Here are three tips to help you pitch stories to ethnic media:
- Tailor messages to community values. Vietnamese values are not necessarily the same as Indian ones. By the same token, some are.
- Use a trusted spokesperson. For a recent PR campaign, I pitched the main Silicon Valley newspapers as well as broadcast networks like ABC, Fox and CBS. I asked a colleague to reach out to Sing Tao Daily because she speaks their language and two of the people highlighted in our story were Chinese. Her help was greatly valued.
- Offer a stipend to trusted journalists at multi-cultural outlets. Julian Do drives ethnic media services for clients like Blue Cross. He provided a unique tip during PRSA Silicon Valley’s #FridayForum that aired on Clubhouse last week. Julian said many multi-cultural media outlets are hurting for money. Providing financial assistance in the form of stipends helps immensely and does not influence the story. Julian compared it to buying advertising.
A good rule of thumb is that no matter what community you’re trying to reach, provide something to the media that its audience wants or needs. Journalists especially like stories about their readers or viewers, as that is who they serve. For example, instead of sending your standard U.S. company press release about a new product to an ethnic media outlet like Telemundo TV, create a story pitch around an interesting Latinx person who has had an interaction with this product.
Michelle McIntyre is an award-winning public relations consultant and IBM vet in the Silicon Valley. She’s @michelle408 in Clubhouse and @FromMichelle in Twitter. You can read her original blog here.