New York Times

Keeping an open mind on placement possibilities could yield results that are just as far-reaching.

One of the first questions we ask our clients when we begin a new partnership is what media outlets they think would be a good fit for the institution’s stories and for individuals’ expertise. From board members to presidents to faculty to staff, we always hear the same answer—The New York Times.  

This is a bit like planning to win a Grammy before getting a recording contract. There are steps to build on, local markets to cover, a track record to establish—and in the end, the bar is still high. 

That’s why we always encourage clients to keep an open mind about other strategies we might suggest when stories don’t quite reach the threshold needed to break through the papers of record or national cable evening news. 

A great example was a story I pitched last month to CNBC.com. There were some who thought the story should have been in The New York Times, but for many reasons, including the fact that the Times had covered a similar story recently, it wasn’t an appropriate pitch at the time. The angle worked well for a personal finance outlet, and they bit on the pitch right away. The piece was strong overall—with several sources from the institution quoted and all key messages hit. And it had high visibility, after being picked up by nearly 20 other outlets including U.S. News & World Report and Yahoo! Finance. Limiting what we consider success to a few top dailies would have meant missing this win. 

So, yes, The New York Times, is the ideal, for good reason. But there are also lots of reasons to keep an open mind about other outlets too. In the end, you just may get even greater reach.