PAN’s healthcare team recently sat down with Kyle Blankenship, managing editor of Endpoints News, to discuss how the publication has evolved to cover the booming biotech industry, his role and most importantly, what he looks for when partnering with PR pros.
Since launching in 2016, Endpoints News has become one of the top publications covering the biopharma industry at large, as well as biotech and pharma research and development news. As Blankenship explained, in 2020 the team saw a market opportunity to take an insider perspective on the biotech field and continue to be a resource for readers who know the industry well and want to dig deeper into the news often covered more generally by traditional business press. The pandemic put more eyes on biopharma, and consequently, Endpoints. The publication has seen extreme growth: advertising has increased, and their editorial team has tripled since last year. Coverage has also doubled during this uncertain albeit innovative and exciting time for research and development.
Prior to his role at Endpoints, Kyle was the associate editor at FiercePharma. He joined Endpoints amidst rapid growth in late 2020 and has recently become managing editor. His role is continuously changing, and in his own words, “no day is ever the same.” Currently, he focuses on administrative duties and supporting the editorial team. Outside of tasks such as onboarding, budgeting and scheduling, Kyle has become the “pitch gatekeeper” at Endpoints and jumps in to make sure his team is sourcing the best experts – which is what it’s all about.
Below are three takeaways from our conversation with Kyle and best practices for PR pros when pitching Endpoints from the gatekeeper himself:
A recent survey of over 2,000 journalists found that 1 in 5 reporters reject a pitch due to lack of personalization. Kyle receives an overwhelming number of pitches every day. Standing out means reading the publication, knowing what Endpoints covers and its reporters’ interests. In our discussion, he mentioned that it’s very obvious when he receives a pitch from someone not familiar with the outlet. At a minimum, PR pros need to read the people they’re pitching and personalize accordingly. This is especially true when pitching a brand with less awareness. Be sure to share why your thought leader’s perspective and/or news is important to broader trends and conversations.
Kyle is part of the 10 percent of journalists who prefer to discuss pitch ideas over the phone. He is more likely to answer a text from someone with whom he has a relationship than answer an email buried in his inbox. He recommends making an intentional effort to build relationships with reporters and to become a go-to resource for relevant stories. Flexibility and accessibility are key in developing a strong partnership with journalists and go a long way when trying to secure coverage. “Once we’ve worked with you before,” Kyle explained, “the likelihood of us working with you again goes up exponentially.”
Make sure you send your pitch at a time that is best for that publication and reporter. Kyle explained that this is crucial to success in that a thoughtful, timely pitch may be buried and irrelevant by the time a reporter gets around to reading it. According to The State of Journalism 2021 survey, pitches are well received earlier in the week between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m., EST. At Endpoints, Kyle recommends holding on reaching out until the afternoon. Mornings are spent focusing on two early AM newsletters. Additionally, be aware of when reporters take their breaks. As you develop relationships with media, ask important questions such as, “when do you like to be pitched?”
The relationship between PR professionals and journalists is symbiotic. For media, partnerships can produce good stories with reliable sources and content. For PR pros, the media represent a critical channel for building brand awareness, advancing thought leadership and promoting industry news. Knowing how media prefer to work with PR professionals can mean the difference between breaking through and getting boxed out.
For more media relations tips and best practices check out this Q&A with tech journalist, Lisa Morgan and this Q&A with Ari Levy (CNBC) and Mara Leighton (Insider)! Learn more about PAN’s healthcare practice here.