Media outreach has long been an important aspect of a well-planned public relations strategy. Pitching can be critical to the success of a PR campaign—after all, it is an important way to reach your target media audience in order to garner coverage.
With so many brands fighting for attention, and the sheer volume of content that exists across the web, it’s more important than ever to hone your pitching strategy.
Here are five things to keep in mind as you prepare your media outreach.
Know your story: The story you are telling will be obvious if you are pitching as part of a planned campaign for, say, a product launch.
Before you get ready to pitch to the media, make sure you have all of your materials ready to go—your press release is written, your multimedia assets are set, and you are prepared to answer follow-up questions or provide additional materials upon request.
If you are offering an exclusive, be sure to time your pitch ahead of the public launch of your press release.
- PRO TIP: Although pitching also happens within the context of a larger PR campaign, do you have “evergreen” stories at your company that you can pitch outside of your planned campaigns? Can you respond to current events or pitch your thought leadership? Just as you should have a content calendar and a regular cadence of press releases, media relations can—and should—be a consistent part of your overall strategy and weaved throughout your entire calendar.
Prepare your people: As the PR voice of your brand, you are always prepared to speak on behalf of your news.
If your stories have other voices—those of other people in your company, such as product managers or thought leaders—make sure those subject matter experts are at the ready to answer questions or provide interviews.
It is especially important to make sure your colleagues stay looped into your pitching efforts and they have the availability you are promising.
- PRO TIP: If your pitches are highlighting the expertise of your companies’ thought leaders, have bios, headshots, LinkedIn profiles and even a list of their previous clips at the ready. Providing background could help you sell your colleagues’ expertise by demonstrating why they make a credible source.
Find your audience: The crux of pitching to the media is discovering and targeting to your audience. Make sure you do your research on the appropriate media outlets and the individual journalists you’re reaching out to. Read other things those journalists have written about your subject. Check them out on social media. Get familiar with the type of content they produce and the content of the publication that you’re pitching. Be absolutely certain that your story is a good fit for them before reaching out.
- PRO TIP: Are you engaged in media monitoring? If you are (and you should be!), monitoring for terms related to your industry, as well as your brand and your competitors, will help you uncover journalists and publications that are creating content on those subjects—and they would likely make great additions to your list.
Hone your list: Determine the scope of your outreach based on the type of news you are promoting. Major corporate news will have broader appeal, so you might consider pitching your story to a wider audience. If your news has regional or local appeal, narrow your list down to a group of journalists and media outlets that cover that area.
- PRO TIP: Audience research is key here. Make sure you are familiar with each journalist, what they write or report on, and where the stories will appear. Pitching the right story to the right person is more likely to result in media pickup, and will help you develop credibility with the key media members and influencers who matter.
Craft your pitch: Once you have your story and your list, it’s time to sit down and write. When you’re performing media outreach, make sure to keep your pitches short and sweet. Provide key details and contact information, and don’t send large attachments via email.
- PRO TIP: A well-honed outreach list allows you to tailor and personalize your pitching, which will not only help you land media coverage to meet a campaign’s goal, but can help you build personal relationships with journalists and outlets.
Journalists, bloggers and other influencers can provide invaluable reach and credibility for your company’s story when they share it with their audience. Don’t be afraid to seek out opportunities to pitch less traditional stories. For more insight, read Redefining Newsworthiness: New Opportunities to Earn Media & Attention for Your Brand.
Author Danielle Capriato is the manager of strategic communications at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @dcapriato.
2 Comments on Blog Post Title
Amazing article, Danielle, very informative!
I agree that it is great to have leaders involved prepared to ask questions. This makes these people feel more approachable and the people feel at least like they could have a say if they wanted to. Headshots and bios are also a really great way to help leaders feel like real actual people. Thank you for all of the helpful and applicable tips!