3-marketing-terms-fiery-death-2014Let’s face it: it’s hard out there for a pitch. Reporters and editors are pressed for time and are constantly being pitched every which way. A catchy subject line might get them to open your email, but how do you make sure journalists want to write about your product or service? Check out these three easy ways to use media to drive your pitches.

Get to know the writer

No, we’re not talking about how many kids they have or what their dog’s name is. We’re talking about the cold hard facts that you can associate with the writer’s news outlet. What subjects does the writer cover? Does she prefer to be contacted via email or via phone? Often, PR platforms like Cision and Vocus will tell you all you need to know about how a media contact likes to be pitched. But that’s not enough.

In order to drive the right kind of pitches to media contacts, you have to know more than just the optimal time to send them an email. Get to know their writing styles and how they deliver their message. Make sure that you take the time to read their work and start noting some of the trends you find in their articles. Are they all about incorporating expert quotes into their articles, or do they prefer to use visuals to expand their message? If you know a media contact likes writing about hard facts, you can incorporate hard data that will spark her interest in the pitch. Understanding how a media contact communicates with their readers gives you the insight to deliver a perfect media package to them.


Understand the audience of the outlet

As digital PR professionals, it’s impossible to ignore a media outlet’s audience. If you can’t deliver a service that will benefit the reader, you’re wasting a reporter’s time and energy with your pitch. One way to understand the outlet’s audience is by researching some of their top performing content.

Use a tool like Buzzsumo to see which pieces of content are top social performers and start dissecting them. Look at the way the messages. Are they product announcements, how-to articles or step-by-step guides? Knowing what kind of articles perform well can help you shape the type of information you need to deliver to your contact.


Use their stories to your advantage

Reactive pitching is one of the PR gods’ greatest gifts to media outreach. Taking a topic that someone has already written about and offering them a fresh perspective or a new resource for the topic can give them an easy-to-write story. Reactive pitches can look very different dependent on the content you’re serving up. A tool may provide a solution to a much talked about problem, while refreshed data can offer an update to a popular study.

After you’ve started pitching your pre-planned media lists, do a search to find what media coverage is buzzing around the topic of your content. Not all articles will have a direct tie in to your offering, but it gives you a good idea of how people are talking about the subject. For pieces that do fit the bill, reach out to the author with a pitch that showcases how your offering can be a perfect follow-up article. When you take the guessing out of what to write about and serve up a topic the author already knows, you’re giving them more of a reason to cover your service.

Pitching the media doesn’t have to feel like a shot in the dark. Understanding the ins and outs of a media outlet, its writers and its audience can give you a fresh perspective on pitching. Even more so, using existing articles to pitch a follow-up can give you an extra leg up on garnering coverage. Help yourself and the reporter out by doing your media research before hitting the send button on your email. It’s the best way to ensure your pitches are well-researched and fit the bill every time.

Image credit: Kyota Tanaka