Forefront Communications

Episode 52: Media Relations in the Digital Age

Welcome to the latest episode of At the Forefront: Fintech Conversations!

To learn more about this podcast and explore our episode archive, click here.

In this episode, Forefront VP and Head of Content Sam Belden sits down with Senior Account Executive Sam Raffalli to discuss best practices for media relations in the digital age. They tackle everything from pitching reporters to the elements of a successful campaign to the importance of in-person networking.

First, Raffalli unpacks some key learnings from Forefront’s Reporters on the Record series, which consists of Q&A interviews with journalists to learn about their backgrounds, career trajectories, how they prefer to work with PR firms and more. He highlights three main takeaways on how agencies like ours can successfully pitch the media on behalf of our clients:

  • Research matters. If you aren’t identifying the right journalists for your pitch, none of the work will pay off. This is even more important if you operate within a niche industry, where reporters often cover very specific beats.

  • The approach you take to craft your pitch – how it’s structured, how it’s written and how clear and persuasive it is – can make or break your chances of securing coverage.

  • A compelling call to action is essential. Whether you’re looking for an intro call or an exclusive story, it should be abundantly clear what you’re asking of the reporter.  

Next, Raffalli brings up a standout example of our agency’s media relations efforts from his time at Forefront: our work to launch OpenYield, a bond ATS enabling brokers, advisors and asset managers to offer retail access to fixed income. He discusses how a combination of bespoke media lists and extensive research on the bond market and retail investing trends led to multiple coverage pieces from both Tier-1 and trade media. These efforts didn’t stop with the initial launch – Sam emphasizes how the team has continued to focus on building and maintaining relationships with key reporters so they can be the first to learn about and cover news from OpenYield.

Lastly, Raffalli and Belden discuss how to navigate the shifting media landscape and an industry and society that have largely gone digital. While Zoom has made it easier than ever to connect remotely, Raffalli believes there is a distinctly human element that gets lost when we don’t interact face-to-face – especially for those in PR roles, where relationships are everything. He states that media relations practitioners should make concerted efforts meet reporters in person, as it limits distractions, facilitates real connections and is a more organic and enjoyable experience overall.

If you’d like to view a full archive of our Reporters on the Record Q&A series, head to the News & Insights section of our website. To learn more about Forefront’s PR/media relations offerings, visit our Services page.

See below for a breakdown of what was discussed. Happy listening!


0:50 – Insights from Forefront’s Reporters on the Record series

3:40 – Elements of a successful media pitch

5:05 – How Forefront successfully pitched client OpenYield

7:50 – Best practices for media relations in an increasingly digital world

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