Once you have something newsworthy to talk about, then it’s time to get your media and influencer relations strategy together.

Here are a few tips to make sure you stay on the right track and make the best connections possible.

#1: Build relationships, not individual opportunities

Sure, you are looking for media coverage for this one media campaign, but what about the next one? And the one after that? Your goal should be to aim for sustained buzz, and to do that you have to look at building relationships with your media contacts. A good media campaign is like fine wine or scotch. It gets better with age and you sometimes have to let it breathe. If you make meaningful connections with the media, you may find that they are more receptive to your pitching down the line. You also may find they take interest in what’s happening with your brand and reach out to you. Media opportunities can sometimes come up 3 or 4 months after your initial pitch, so don’t just pitch once and forget it. Look at building relationships with the media like building relationships with your customers – connect with them on social media (where appropriate) and drop them a line every so often if you have something that is of interest to them.

#2: Let the media get to know you

You need to provide opportunities for the media to get to know you. Especially if you are just launching a new brand, they won’t know you at all, so you need to be accessible. Some of the things to consider are:

  • Invite them to VIP media events you are holding
  • Build a downloadable media kit with all of the important information
  • Be active on social media – this is a great way to showcase your brand personality

#3: Get to know the media

Using a blanket approach where you pitch every media contact you can think of is not a great idea. Build a list thoughtfully and get to know who your media and influencers are. What do they write about? What stories seem to grab them the most? Most importantly, what is the connection between your pitch and them? You will have a higher success rate if you approach your outreach in this way because you will make a connection with your contacts.

#4: Match your pitching schedule to the media’s schedule

If you send your pitch, your media kit and samples, or make a call while they are in a meeting, meeting a deadline, or on air, your pitch may get lost in the shuffle. You will learn their schedule over time, however, it’s easy to check to see if your contact is on air or producing a show! Just be aware of all of the factors that will affect the visibility of your pitch and respect how the media prefers to be contacted.

This also means that you have to match your response to their needs as well. If the media contacts you for an interview or to get more information, get back to them as soon as you can. If you wait for a day or more, you may lose out on the opportunity.

#5: Anticipate the media’s needs

You don’t have to be a mind reader, however you have to be able to identify what the media may need to write a great story on your pitch. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Background information on the company or executives (if they are involved in the pitch story)
  • High resolution images including your logo
  • Spokesperson/expert availability – don’t pitch them as a spokesperson if they aren’t able to do interviews.

#6: Be clear about what you want

The media doesn’t have time to fish around your pitch to discover what you may or may not want from them. Are you asking for coverage? Event attendance? An interview? A guest column opportunity? Make it as easy as possible for the media to evaluate whether or not they want to be involved with your brand.

#7: Keep your promises

If you say you are going to provide your contact with information by a certain deadline, then do it. Also if you promise an exclusive to one publication, don’t do the same to another. It breaks trust down and they will likely just delete your email next time you try to pitch them.

#8: Use social media to report your own news!

Sometimes the media may not respond right away to your pitch, but you can generate buzz and keep it sustained using your own tools. If you make a big enough splash on your social channels, chances are the media will come around eventually.

Originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.