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We Ask the Journalists Series: Daily Star’s Online Showbiz Editor

Sacha Mooney from NovosSacha Mooney in Digital PR

20th February, 2022

Building relationships with journalists is key when it comes to being a digital PR. With these relationships not only comes more coverage and links but also the ability to ask for inside tips on what they really want from us!

Here at NOVOS, we’re creating a blog series where we get the answers all DPR’s are looking for from a range of journalists covering different beats for different publications. 

First up, we get the inside scoop from the Daily Star’s Senior Showbiz & TV Reporter, Carly Beech…

Name: Carly Beech

Publication: Daily Star Online

Position: Senior Showbiz & TV Reporter


Roughly, how many emails would you say you receive a day from PR’s?

 At least 150

How many of those do you actually open?

Feeling guilty here – around 10-15!

What kind of subject line makes you want to open your email? (things such as recognising a client’s brand name, stats, expert weighs in etc?)

Carly: I’m more likely to open them if I know the PR & we have a relationship – but also if it’s specifically catered to me. Like if it’s pics of a celeb, details on something celeb-related that is relevant etc. 

Are there any buzzwords that would instantly make a headline stand out? And any that would immediately make you hit delete before opening?

Just a relevant name or TV show – I’ll auto delete if it doesn’t have any celeb relevance and I do get a lot of those. 

Is there a particular way you like PR’s to layout an email? (Press release in the body of the email or attached? Main points bullet pointed etc)

Press release in the body of an email but also a little information before they go right into it. Some people just copy and paste press releases and it feels really impersonal. So I’ll only usually respond to that if it’s REALLY good. If people send me a little email first – and I’ve clicked on it – I’ll usually inform them that it’s not quite right and advise on what is. 

Do you have a preferred time of day to receive pitch emails and press releases?

No, as a person from the tabloid press there is no right time of day. I either start work at 7am or 3pm and catching me 10 minutes into my shift is always the prime time as it’s when I’m most likely to have the least amount of emails. 

What is the most important thing for you when thinking about writing a piece? Is it how much traffic the page gets/how long people spend on the page or interactions?

Traffic 

What kind of articles are gaining the most traffic? (survey, rankings, baity?)

Exclusives will always work best for us in terms of first look pics, interviews etc. But elsewhere it kind of depends – for example, for Love Island the features on who was going to make the most money due to their following did ridiculously well, but that doesn’t tend to work the same way for people who are already celebrities. It could be worth sending emails at the start of each big TV season and seeing what we’re after, as we are always after some kind of content. 

When it comes to branded content, do you take videos and graphics from brands, or use your own house style? If the latter, why?

 Not really graphics but we do use videos and just put it through our system 

Are you entirely focused on content or do you have keywords that you have to try and optimise for?

Content is the primary focus and we will optimise the content with strong keywords, but we have an SEO team who will write articles based on search. 

What is your opinion/policy on including links within the pieces you write when requested by the PR?

There isn’t really a hard and fast rule – it kind of depends, I usually play it by ear.

How do you define a ‘trend’?

Something which is increasing in popularity – in showbiz it usually lasts around 24-48 hours.

Do you have any pet hates when it comes to how PR’s pitch to you?

Not a how, but I really don’t like it when a PR sends me multiple pitches in a 10 minute period, especially when they’re all really varied and not relating to showbiz. It makes it less likely that I’ll look at them.

How can PR’s best form an ongoing relationship with journalists as opposed to just the one of pitches here and there?

Coffee/lunch meetings are always great but I also personally find that the more relationships I have with PRs that include having them on socials and keeping in contact when it’s not always work related makes it easier when it is work related. Those who I have longer relationships with I will always respond and explain why we can’t use something and try and see if there is another way to make it work. 

Do you still enjoy meeting PR’s for breakfasts/lunches or are those days over post covid?

I would like to if I was in London more, but it is difficult. But if PRs are based outside of London too it’s worth finding out how durable it is – for example, a lot of our reporters are now based up north, so if all PRs aren’t London based, they can branch out. 

 

Sacha Mooney from Novos
Article by Sacha Mooney
Senior Digital PR Strategist at NOVOS, Sacha, has been working in PR for the last 5 years. Starting out in-house for a brand doing traditional PR, she then moved into a traditional agency setting before continuing her career in the world of digital PR. Sacha has worked on and led numerous campaigns for a range of clients across a whole host of industries.

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