In an earlier post, we touched on public relations channels that you, as a marketer, need to be working.
This time around, let’s dig into best practices for reaching out to and hooking the interest of those in a position to give your company a moment in the spotlight.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when pitching reporters, writers and various influencers in your industry:
Tailor the Tune for the Audience
Gone are the days of blanketing a list of media contacts with the same press release. Today you need to customize your outreach efforts — which first means ensuring your list is current and targeted to people in a position to make decisions about stories, content or editorial coverage. Next, do all you can to understand the needs of the person on the other end of your pitch, and the channel they work for. What kind of content do they create? Are they already an expert in your industry? Who is their audience? What kind of stories have they done recently?
Avoid Ballads (Be Concise)
These days, email is the method most reporters, editors, and producers prefer. Still, recognize that they receive an onslaught of emails. Keep your initial pitch letter brief, demonstrating that you value their time and showing how you can help them develop something of interest to their audience. Which leads to the next point …
Don’t Sing a Solo
Sure, your goal is to secure coverage for your company or client, but you will have greater success if you remember that your pitch shouldn’t be all about you (or your client). Instead, present your pitch against a larger context. Show how your story reflects trends or backs up current research or statistics. Then be ready with relevant background information, sources for interviews, and other resources that will make the reporter’s job easier.
Harmonize for the Long-term
The best PR practitioners recognize that developing relationships is key. Connect and engage on social media, say “Thank you” when you get coverage (so important!), and be courteous as you forward along occasional items that could be of interest. A colleague of mine calls it the “drip” approach, versus showering someone all at once only when you have a “big” story. Making your interactions less transactional and more “win-win” for both parties will go a long way toward securing the coverage you ultimately seek.
Do you agree or disagree? What works for you when pitching stories?