You have a wealth of knowledge in your industry. Why can it be so difficult to get the press we desire? Thanks to social channels, not only can you be seen and heard all around the world, but so can everyone else. So how do you actually connect with the media to stand out amongst the crowd?
It may seem simple, but it can be tricky. You need to perfect your pitch. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
We live in the digital age, which means journalists can receive pitches through multiple different outlets. Can you imagine how many pitches a journalist receives per day? Some receive so many, they’re forced to delete most just to save valuable space in their inbox.
Make yours stand out by personalizing the pitch to the journalist. Get to know their beat and figure out why their audience would be interested in your idea. Remember, journalists are people too and clogging up their inboxes with automated emails that have no relevance to them can be a poor reflection on you and your brand.
Not every interaction with journalists should be pitching an article or event. Try to develop a relationship. Be helpful. Become an actively engaged member of their audience. For example, comment on one of their stories with something as simple as “Great story. This truly is a dilemma for small businesses and I hope you’ll cover more on this topic.” Trust us, they’ll notice!
DON’T: Puff up your pitch
Make your pitch easy to understand by clearly stating the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Ensure that your pitch is timely, relevant to the journalist and their audience, and newsworthy. Keep your pitch clear and concise. Most journalists are on a deadline. They simply won’t waste valuable time trying to sort through fluffy adjectives included in your pitch.
DO: Emphasize your expertise
Prove to the journalist that you and/or your company are the leading experts in your industry. Demonstrate that you’ve been following trends by including relevant statistics. Tell them about your own social following. This doesn’t mean that you should include other coverage of the same news you’re trying to pitch. But if you’ve written on a theme and have seen success in driving traffic to your own social platforms, share it. Better yet, explain how you’ll drive traffic to their platform by co-promoting the piece. Not only do they want to be the first or most informed journalist on a valuable news story, they want confidence that it will be successful online. So make sure you’re marketing your expertise on a truly newsworthy subject that has value to their readership and channels, not your popularity.
DON’T: Take the Shotgun Approach
Quality over quantity. The same rule applies to pitching the media. Sending out mass-quantities of the same generic pitch isn’t an effective use of your time. Taking the shotgun approach to your pitch takes away the personalization that journalists prefer. The shotgun approach can also increase your chance of making embarrassing mistakes, such as sending a pitch to a journalist that says “Dear
Customizing your pitch will yield a higher ROI on your PR efforts over time. Even journalists recognize that pitching isn’t easy. We love these tips (a few are fairly amusing!) from Mashable. Yes, there are endless opportunities to be seen and heard in our digital age. But earning that coverage takes time, strategy and a true commitment to making a journalist’s job a little easier with a solid pitch.