Let’s face it, one of the greatest accomplishments a PR pro can have is securing successful media coverage for a client. Creating the perfect pitch is an art form, and media relations takes patience and perseverance to really pay off. Securing coverage for a client is also one of the most straightforward ways to showcase results. Think you’re ready to dive into media relations? Here’s some tips:
1.) Personalize the pitch. Take the time to find out who the target audience is. If you’re willing to approach an editor/reporter/producer with an angle that’s right for their audience, you’ll dramatically improve your chance of earning coverage. Make sure to double check spelling of names, and all grammar and punctuation. This is a reporter’s first impression of you and your writing, so make it count. Take the time to think about what media outlets will be best for your client’s pitch. Be wary of blind copying all your recipients because you think they won’t notice you just switched out their name and organization.
2.) Think like a journalist. Reporters are busy, so why not do the work for them? The more you do in the pitch, the more likely a reporter is to email you back. What’s the angle you’re pitching? Is it timely for you or for the reporter? What can you offer? Why is this product/news story relevant? Does it have a human interest angle to it? These are all good questions to ask yourself before drafting a pitch – chances are if you can’t answer them, a reporter is less likely to respond back.
3.) Be flexible. Sometimes your angle works for the station or newspaper, but not in the way you pitched it originally. That’s okay – being flexible makes that reporter more likely to answer your call next time. Be willing to come back with a fresh angle if asked, and work with a reporter who likes your pitch, but may need it in a different section. A reporter’s job is not to drive the publicity vehicle for your client. His or her job is to report the news. Fresh, relevant, timely and credible angles will always increase your chances of securing client coverage.
4.) Put the time in, do the research, build relationships. Pitching and media relations isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s the sting of rejection and a lot of unanswered phone calls and emails. Give yourself a leg up and get started with research early. What relationships can you establish early on? Follow a reporter on Twitter, engage with them, and send them a tweet. What kind of stories do they like to write? Subscribe to their paper or newscast and spend a few days getting to know them. This will help personalize your pitch, and increase your chances of gaining valuable media coverage. Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight. Putting the time in makes the reward that much sweeter.
5.) Follow-up, but don’t overdo it. Journalists and editors are busy and often do not have time for a phone call, much less several calls in day. After you’ve introduced yourself to the journalist and started a relationship, sending a succinct email or one phone call several hours later may be needed to confirm that they have received your pitch. Multiple phone calls and messages will most likely get you on a “do not answer” list.
Feeling ready to draft your first pitch? Go forth and happy pitching! Do you have any tips for successful media relations or need some help with your own media effort? Drop us a line!