There are many different ways that you can use the media to build excitement about your business. Once you’ve identified the key ways to go about marketing your business to the public, it’s time to start pitching. But this is easier said than done: the media rejects roughly 95% of the pitches they receive. At the start, it seems the odds are against you, but there are a few key things you can do to capture their attention.
Do Your Research
Seems easy enough, but the media are constantly inundated with pitches for products or services they would not normally cover. This is why your research is important: you need to have a thorough understanding of the type of content they cover.
Many publications have an editorial calendar–particularly big name magazines. Once you have created a list of media sources you’d like to pitch, check each website for its calendar. For example, if you run a service that helps empower businesswomen, you may want to pitch Glamour magazine in September for their December “Women of the Year” issue (magazines plan 3-4 months in advance).
Know who you are emailing. Your emails are less likely to get read when you’re sending to a general email and not a personal one. It isn’t hard to figure out the names of journalists who could potentially be interested in what you have to offer. Once you’ve come up with a target list of ideal publications, begin checking out bylines belonging to stories that fit the industry or niche you’re a part of. These are the people you want to reach out to: those who have a vested interest in what you’re promoting.
Don’t be overzealous: There is no need to create a sense of urgency in your pitch, as this can come off as desperation more than anything else, and give you the impression of an excitable or unreliable source. If the topic is timely, you can sum the reason up in a simple sentence. Back up your claims. Don’t make wild claims such as, “guaranteed to get rid of wrinkles in 12 hours” — unless you have proof from a disinterested third party.
Keep it concise and catchy: You’ll want to create a catchy subject that draws the reader in. Stay away from caps and excessive punctuation.
Keep your goals modest and start small when you’re working on your PR plan. Rather than shoot for the Daily Telegraph, try getting through to some local reporters or bloggers. The more you get coverage from smaller publications, the more likely you’ll be to make your way to the bigger ones, and you’ll cultivate great relationships along the way, too.
Don’t Forget Bloggers
It isn’t uncommon for PR teams to focus primarily on magazines and newspapers, but bloggers have huge potential and shouldn’t be swept aside. There are several benefits to working with bloggers. For one, they tend to think more outside the box and don’t follow stringent rules and guidelines in the same capacity that bigger, traditional publications do. Secondly, many bloggers actually review products and services, in addition to interviewing you. Thirdly, bloggers may have you write guest posts if they have particular interest in what you offer as a way to connect with their audience.
Give the Media Plenty of Lead Time
It won’t help to wait until the last minute to reach out to the media, as they work on an advance schedule and notice of breaking stories. If necessary, place an embargo on your news releases, giving interested parties time to do the research and accommodate the future publication date you’ve set.