pitching media
Photo credit: Eric Kilby

Public relations pros and journalists work together. The two sides help each other. PR seeks to spread its message through journalists, and journalists look to PR to locate sources and provide input for their articles. With all the attention on social media, SEO and website postings, the old-fashioned focus on media pitching may be waning in some quarters.

Still, PR pros seem open for advice on media pitching, and fortunately PR veterans are willing to reveal their most successful tactics.

Ritika Pura, a marketer turned entrepreneur and writer, asked top PR pros for media pitching tips for a BuzzStream blog post. Here’s a sampling of their input.

• Get to the point. Don’t send long emails about your company. Tell the story of why it’s important to the writer’s readership within the first sentence. – Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations, Hanson Dodge Creative

Be prepared. Be ready to answer questions. Prepare your pitch as if the reporter will run it immediately. The less groundwork reporters need to do the more likely they will use it. – Shaun Walker, Creative Director, HERO Farm

• Look for trends. Find how your client is part of a new trend. Persuading a reporter to cover your client’s new product or service is harder than pitching a story about a general trend. – Drew Tybus, VP of brand marketing at Porter Novelli

• Add value. Provide sources and references other than your clients. Help reporters complete the stories you are pitching. – Ronjini Mukhopadhyay, owner at The Silver Telegram

Read your pitches out loud. If it sounds like BS, don’t send. If you can’t stand the sound of your voice delivering it, chances are, the journalist won’t either. – Heather Anne Carson, co-founder at Onboardly

• Find journalists. Seek journalists who write about your client’s competition, find out what they like about them, and then find ways that your product/service trumps our competitor. – Brenna Loury, owner at Loury PR

• Get social. Connect with reporters on social media. This works because their inbox is flooded with names they don’t recognize. If you become familiar to them on social media, they’ll recognize your name in their email boxes. – Brittany Berger, social media and content marketing coordinator at eZanga 

Tips And More Media Relations Tips

Some months back, Jeff Bullas.com published 50 Surprising Tips for Getting Attention in Mass Media. The article by Cam Secore, founder of Bidiction and Reviewpon, offers an abundance of ideas for obtaining coverage.

Here are the ideas we like best:

• Be different. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.

• Find a local or regional angle of a national story.

• Identify quirky components of your company. That could be your logo, the CEO’s hobbies, or the company culture. Example: You don’t work on Fridays.

• Read reporters’ articles, blogs, and tweets. Mention their work and create a greater sense of context and logic regarding the reason for initial contact.

• Redo your email signature to present your company as an authority in its niche. Editors and reporters want information from experts.

• Send a follow-up thank you note. Use a funny graphic of something they will appreciate.

Tracy Schario, communications officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts, also offers tips in an interview with PRnews.

Anticipate reporters’ needs. Deliver a story angle of interest to the publication’s readers. Give reporters facts, figures, photos, video, trends and your contact info.

Target the right reporters. Build a custom pitch list for each story or news release. Read the reporter’s stories and the publication to understand its audience. Send your pitch to a small group of reporters that might realistically cover your news. Don’t spam 500 with a generic email.

Build relationships. Seek face-to-face meetings. Respond promptly to phone calls and emails, even if it’s only to acknowledge the inquiry. Be friendly and honest.

Bottom Line: Following these media relations tips can help you develop better relationships with journalists and obtain more media coverage. To get noticed these days, you have to do things of value to journalists. You also have to do something beyond the traditional media relations “things.” The payoff? Eventually, you’ll get more and better earned media placements.

This article was originally published in the CyberAlert blog.