Dreaming of a major website or newspaper writing about your brand? You won’t get there unless you learn how to pitch journalists with your story. And believe me: you’re far from the only business that has clamored for media coverage, so you’ve got some stiff competition when it comes to getting a journalist’s attention.
While you’re never guaranteed that a journalist will write about you, these five tips will at least give you a fighting chance.
Let’s not shoot for the moon your first try. Instead, cozy up to reporters who write for your local newspaper. Consider publications like steps. You need to get to the first step before you can get to the top of the staircase (i.e. The New York Times and the like). Get press coverage at one step and it will be easier to get coverage at the next step.
Get to Know the Players
The kiss of death is sending a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. These emails basically go in a black hole that no one pays attention to. That’s why it’s important to research what journalists are writing about your industry. Browse articles online and look at bylines. Find the About Us or Contact Us page and find the editor in charge of that section. Once you do, read more of their writing so you get to know what they’re interested in.
Get on Their Radar
Now that you know who you want to pitch, slow your roll before you send an email. First you want to show you’re paying attention. Comment intelligently on their articles. Follow them on social media and share their content there. Connect on LinkedIn. That way, when you’re ready to pitch, they have an inkling of who you are.
Don’t Overlook Bloggers
When people think of PR and media coverage, they think of newspapers and magazines, but blogs are another fantastic place to introduce more people to your brand. It can also be a fresh breath of air working with bloggers, since they tend to think outside of the press release box and prefer to review your products, interview you, or get you to write a guest post as a way to connect with their audience.
Make Your Press Release The Accent, Not the Focus
Sure, you’ve published a press release and you want journalists to ooh and aah over it. It ain’t gonna happen. Journalists care about your brand’s story, and while your press release may tell part of it, you’ll do a better job of telling it yourself in your pitch letter. By all means, include a link to your press release, but summarize your news in a few bullet points instead of including the whole thing in an email. You want to tantalize the journalist into clicking to read more, and not show too much skirt in your introductory email.
The more effort you put into your pitch, the more successful you’ll be at getting a journalist to write about your brand.