Getting coverage by any media organization, whether it’s a traditional magazine or publication or influential blog or podcast, is an important part of building your business. The exposure can help drive awareness and demand for your product or service.
You don’t need to hire an expensive PR agency to help get this exposure. There are things you can do yourself to get this attention. First, you need to take a little time researching the publications, TV shows, podcasts, blogs etc. you would like to be featured in. You need to find the names and contact information of the reporters or influencers who cover the industry you are in. Once you have a list, start reading and commenting on their articles and blogs. Follow them on Twitter and start retweeting or tweeting at them. But make sure you are being authentic and genuine in your comments and feedback. No sales pitches—yet. Just work on trying to build a relationship with him or her. You don’t have to take the time to do this, but building a relationship with the person you want to pitch can help increase the chances they will ultimately cover your story.
Now, whether you’ve taken the time to build a relationship or if you’re just making a “cold” pitch, here are five tips on how to craft a media pitch that will get their attention.
Have a “story” or interesting or unique angle.
Think about your story and what makes you and/or your business “different” from your competitors or similar businesses. Think about why you started your business and got to where you are today. Don’t be afraid to share your stories of failure and success. That could be one story angle to pitch. Or do you do something different in your business that competitors don’t? How is your product or service unique from others? If you are doing something no one else is doing in your industry that for sure can make for an interesting, newsworthy story.
Make it personal.
You know which reporter or blogger you want to pitch. You’ve been reading their articles or blog posts, you know what they write about or interested in writing about. So when you do finally pitch them, make it personal. Let them know you’ve been following them and have been reading their articles or blogs. You can even mention in your pitch a favorite article and what you got out of it. For example, you can write: “Dear Reporter, I really enjoyed the article you wrote about the top 5 things an entrepreneur needs to do before creating a website. It really helped me build my business. I thought you might be interested in my story about….”
Email subject line & first sentence are most important.
I don’t know about you but when I open my email in the morning, I go through and read the email subject line and whatever part of that first sentence that pops up in my inbox. We all know that is the most important part of any email- so make it count. If you need some inspiration, my advice is to think “Buzzfeed.” Go read through some of the headlines on Buzzfeed to get some inspiration. For example, a subject line that reads “New product launch” is not going to get anyone’s attention. But maybe a subject line that reads, “New state of the art product promise to revolutionize the way you do business…” will.
Keep your pitch short and sweet.
Let’s face it. No one has time to read lengthy emails. So try to keep it short and sweet (but interesting!). My advice is to think of the five “W’s” in journalism when crafting your pitch: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Consider answering all or some of these five questions, if you need help crafting your pitch.
Along with answering the five questions above, remember to be specific about what you are asking, your so-called “call to action”, to the reporter or blogger. If you want them to cover an event, make sure you say that. If you’d like them to come out to your office to learn more about your new product, indicate that. If you’d like to come on their TV show to do a live demo, suggest that etc. Of course, if you’re pitching something time-sensitive, then for sure indicate that in your email.
One more note, once you have pitched them, wait at least 24-48 hours to follow up and don’t follow-up more than twice. If the reporter or blogger doesn’t respond after that, you can assume it wasn’t a right fit. But don’t be discouraged. Don’t be afraid to try again in a few months, but consider tweaking your pitch. Good luck and happy pitching!
About Amanda Subler
Amanda is the co-owner of the website, TheCareerZoo.com, which produces career videos as a resource for schools and students. She’s also a PR & Video Consultant for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), working on all publicity and media efforts as well as handling all video projects. In 2015, she also traveled the world producing a documentary for CMI called The Story of Content. Amanda spent the first 10+ years of her career as an award-winning local TV news producer.