The relationship Public Relations professionals have with the media is crucial for success. Yes, it is certainly most important to understand your client(s) and their target audiences, but it is equally as important to be knowledgeable and selective when you choose and foster relationships with appropriate media outlets and contacts.
The relationship between Public Relations professionals and media journalists and reporters is complementary and necessary. However, these relationships take time to build and require consistency and care to maintain.
Here are five things you should do before you send a pitch to the media:
Know Them and Their Beat
Research is key! It is important to know all that you can about a media contact prior to sending your pitch.
- What kinds of stories are they writing?
- Who is their preferred audience?
- What is their beat? What topics are they most passionate about and write about the most?
- Do their views and values align with that of your client?
Do not send a pitch to a contact unless it is relevant to them or their outlet. Even if you already have an established relationship with a contact, if the story is not relevant to them, it is likely that they will not pursue the story further or publish it.Personalize Your Pitch
You might not always feel like you have the time to write a personalized pitch to every contact, however, personal pitches tend to be more successful. Avoid the temptation to send a catch-all style pitch to a random or larger group. Instead, narrow down your contacts to three to five of the most relevant and cater your pitch to them. This will not only help to establish a future relationship with the contact, but also will give you the opportunity to highlight why they should be interested in your story.
If your pitch does not appeal to their personal interests or does not appeal to the interests of their outlet’s audience, they will likely ignore your pitch, or worse, block or unsubscribe from your emails.
Know What Topics Are Current and Desired
Current events and news cycles constantly change. What might have been most important yesterday might be old news today. Make sure that your pitch is timely and relevant. Before you send a pitch to the media ask yourself these questions:
- Is this timely? Does the topic align with current events or what is happening within the specific industry?
- What is the proximity of the story? Would it be better to pitch to smaller local outlets or does it fit the news values of regional or national interest?
- What is the overall impact? Does this affect a large number of people or is this more of a niche topic?
- How prominent is your client or their company? Is their name well known?
Pro tip: Avoid the desire to piggyback your story onto a current news topic just to gain exposure. If the event is not relevant to your client, their industry, or the topic of your pitch, you risk a negative reaction from your contact and could kill a relationship before it even starts. An example of this would be tying your pitch to the coronavirus just because outlets are reading all that they can about the topic. But if the coronavirus is not relevant to your client’s new book, for example, then all you have done is ensured that your pitch is opened and possibly read. It will likely not go any further.
Keep Your Pitch Short
Reporters receive hundreds of emails a day. Avoid a long pitch that they will most likely skim or skip and keep it short and to the point. Include the what and why you think it is a good fit for them and end with a call to action – request for an interview or tell them where they can gain further information.
You can attach a press release or other information to the pitch, but keep in mind your overall goal is to have them contact you for more information.
Always follow up with a contact but be smart about it. Do not bombard your contact with emails and phone calls, or worse, stalk them on social media. After your initial pitch is sent, wait at least a few days before you send a quick and friendly follow-up email. Do not simply resend the same pitch a second time. Depending on your relationship with the contact, a phone call might also be appropriate.
Even the best contacts will not pursue or publish every pitch. However, as a Public Relations professional, invest your time in research and relationships and you will see greater success with your pitches.
If you are interested in Public Relations strategy or consultation to help protect your brand, Infinity Concepts is here to help. CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.