While the media landscape has changed significantly over the last 10 years, the one thing that you can expect is that when you entrust someone else to tell your story, you have to relinquish a certain level of control to that person. For some brands, this can be a tough pill to swallow, but if you approach your media and influencer strategy from the right perspective, then you can actually use this to your advantage when it comes to reaching a broader audience while working with the media.
We all know the first challenge is even getting the media’s interest, but what happens after they have agreed to cover your story?
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to giving up the reins while working with the media.
Give them time to respond
Once you have sent your first pitch, the hardest part is waiting to see if your media or influencer contact will even be interested in telling your story. The thing is, you may have sent out your pitch an hour, a day, two days ago, but the person you pitched likely received dozens, if not hundreds, of email pitches just like yours that day. Once you send off your pitch your contact needs to sift through their email inbox to find stories they might be interested in, then they need to do a bit of research, and they often need to run things by their editors. While you may receive a response right away in some cases, more often than not it will take a couple of days for your contact to get back to you. You are working on their time, not yours.
After two or three days, if you haven’t heard back, follow up with a quick and short email that offers something new. Keep in mind that sometimes your contacts will be too busy to tell you if they decided to scrap your pitch. There comes a point where you should just move on.
They have their own brand voice to think about
While you are concerned with how your brand will appear, your media and influencer contacts also have their own brands to consider. This is especially true about influencers who most often build their fan base based on their personal brand. Let them talk about your brand in their own way.
They know their audience best
Chances are, you have done a bit of research into your media and influencer contacts to see who their audience is and how they communicate with them. If you haven’t done this research, take a step back from outreach because you have some work to do. Your contact will choose to cover your story if they think it will be interesting to their audience. Let them tell it in a way that will resonate with their audience.
Let them put their stamp on it
Think about how excited you get to talk about your brand. Realize that the more leeway you give to a journalist or influencer to tell your story, the better. They will actually enjoy writing about your brand. If someone enjoys talking about you, they will talk about you more. Not only that, if you have ten people cover your story in the exact same way, it could get pretty boring.
How are they connected to your brand?
Cold pitching definitely works if someone doesn’t know about your brand, but your goal should be to build a relationship and create a fan, not just to get the quick media hit. For example, if you are running an influencer campaign and one of the influencers posts about your product – let’s say it’s a jacket. It’s great if they post it that one time, but what if they love the brand so much that they wear your jacket all the time?
Speak up only if something is very off
When someone takes the time to cover your story, sometimes human error can happen. If your spokesperson’s name is misspelled, or the brand or product name has an error, reach out to have it corrected. There is no need to be angry, it can be fixed. However, edit yourself when it comes to requested corrections. A small typo is not the end of the world. Also, if you don’t feel like your brand was represented the way you wanted it to be, sometimes you have to suck it up and move on. Figure out how you can better communicate for the next time.
Working with the media means you are working with people. Get to know them so you can work more efficiently with them. Just like you, they are busy and anything that makes their job easier should be of great importance to you.
A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.