You’ve written a press release about your latest company news. It’s been published online, but you’re looking for a bit more media coverage. Now it’s time to go to the next level of PR: pitching the media.
Essentially, you want to connect with journalists who might be interested in writing about your news. It takes some legwork (and ideally, you begin this process long before you have news to share), but it can pay off in huge ways.
Step 1: Connect with the Right Journalists
Start by researching who’s writing about your industry. You’re interested in journalists and bloggers who write for local newspapers and magazines, as well as medium and larger publications. You’ll have better luck with the former, but it’s always good to shoot for the stars, as long as your expectations are realistic. Your chances of getting coverage in the Wall Street Journal are very slim, but if you build up coverage in local and smaller publications, you just might get their attention.
Create a spreadsheet and write down the journalist’s name, email, and Twitter handle, as well as links to his articles.
Step 2: Build that Relationship
Follow each journalist on your list on Twitter and other social channels. Share their content and interact with them. Comment on their articles. Find every way you can to connect so that when you do pitch the journalists on your list, they have an inkling of who you are.
Step 3: Throw the Pitch
Here’s where you craft a customized email with your pitch. Start out by mentioning an article you really liked, or a status update she shared. Then go into your pitch.
Keep it short, and be sure to mention why his readers will care. Boil down the essence of your story to three bullet points. If he’s interested, he’ll follow up with more questions.
Step 4: Follow Up
In my experience, it’s rare that a journalist responds to a pitch right away. More often than not, I have to send a followup email a week later. I take the original email I sent, and change my subject line to re: previous email to let the journalist know I’ve already sent them an email.
I just ask if they received my email, and inquire as to whether they’re interested in the story. This tends to get a quick response. It’s not always a yes, but at least I know who’s interested.
As I said, you should start this process long before you want your news covered. You don’t have to have an agenda to connect with a reporter; simply follow her on social media and start reading more of her content. You’ll get a better sense of what she likes to write about, which can help you immensely in your pitch.
Editor’s note: This was originally written by Susan Payton for Bizlaunch.