“Get to Know Me. I’m Pretty Nice”
Readers of the Philadelphia Daily News should recognize Molly Eichel as the author of the four-times a week “Philly Gossip” column – a long running staple in the “People Paper.”
Eichel took over the column in 2013 and has been a writer at the Daily News since 2010. Before that, she was on staff at the City Paper.
Each day, Eichel is tasked with writing six to eight quick newsy nuggets on items that involve well-known Philadelphians (a recent coup: being the first media member to interview WPVI-TV personality Adam Joseph about he and his partner becoming first-time parents). Many of those ideas originate from smartly-pitched PR pitches.
Eichel recently took time to speak to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s Adam Dvorin about her likes/dislikes when working with PR people.
With your ideas, e-mail Eichel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What is the biggest thing you look at when considering a story idea?
A: The story needs to fit my beat. I have a pretty broad beat but I get so many off-beat pitches. As a PR person, show me you have a familiarity with what I do for a living and pitch directly to me, don’t just blanket a bunch of journalists and hope I’ll respond.
Q: When you open your e-mail to look at a story pitch, how much time do you spend looking at it?
A: It depends. If it’s a form press release, much less time than if someone takes the time to figure out how their story relates to my column.
Q: Would you consider a story idea from Twitter? Facebook? Phone only?
A: Phone and e-mail. Pitching me on Twitter is a guaranteed way to get me to ignore you.
Q: What would you advise a PR person avoid doing when pitching you?
A: Come into the pitch with no familiarity of what I do. My name is very easy to Google. Read a column. Get a sense of my voice. I don’t expect you to be a regular reader, but if you have no idea about what I do, it won’t help you.
Q: When is the best and worst time to reach out to you with a column idea?
A: Deadline is 6 p.m. if you call me between 5 and 6 for something that’s not urgent, I’ll shuffle you off the phone or tell you to call back the next day. Reach out any time before that.
Q: What is the best story idea you have ever received from a PR person?
A: One that comes to mind is a celebrity giving money to a local rehab center while he was in town filming a movie.
Q: What other advice would you offer to PR pros?
A: Get to know me! I’m pretty nice and if I know what you do and what you’re about, I can better tailor advice on future pitching.
This post was written by Adam Dvorin. Adam is Media Director of Winning Strategies, a New Jersey-based communications firm. He is a Membership Co-Chair of Philadelphia Public Relations Association. He can be reached at @adamdvorin on Twitter.