Best Practices for Approaching the Media
Spam emailing journalists, reporters and editors with pitches, news releases, announcements, etc., is ineffective, and it establishes your organization as “one of the bad guys.”
So, what are the best practices for approaching an editor or journalist?
Attract, don’t chase
Contacting publications to pitch stories is only one way to get the media’s attention. Much of a journalist’s or reporter’s job is researching industry trends and finding newsworthy content. You should make sure your website and social media are places where these journalists and reporters might find great stories.
There are ways to connect with the media other than through one-way spam. Writing and sharing relevant content establishes your company’s credibility and increases your findability within the industry. To make sure reporters will find you on search engines and industry sites, you should prioritize SEO and keyword research. Posting keyword-rich content online will lead potential customers and reporters to find you on search engines.
Establishing your own blog and posting regular content can help your organization get noticed by other industry bloggers and journalists. Blogging can not only help you be found by reporters but also possibly be looked to again for future stories. The bottom line is: when you create and post valuable content online, you reach people who are looking for what you have to offer, including reporters and the media. Pro tip: make sure the media are on your CRM. Often a simple announcement or news update shared via email to your contacts will pique their interest in a story.
Make it personal
These days, we’re all bombarded by tons of notifications from social media, texts, calls and emails. Journalists are no strangers to this. Think about how you might be able to get them to open and pay attention to your email out of the thousands in their inbox.
Rather than sending generic emails to a ton of reporters, you should take the time to research industry publications and find specific reporters who are likely to cover your story. Think about what the individual reporters like to write about by researching their previous stories, and then write specific, targeted pitches crafted just for them. It’s up to you to pitch stories to reporters who might actually be interested in writing about your industry or topic. Consider offering an exclusive story, free samples, product demonstrations or interviews with executives to sweeten the deal.
In my opinion, the best way to get coverage is by fostering real relationships with reporters. Connect with media in your industry by commenting on blogs, social media, and communication that doesn’t involve pitching anything. Relationships don’t form overnight but making sure your interactions with the media are personal might just lead to the formation of professional relationships that prove mutually beneficial for years to come.
Nail the pitch
So, you’ve selected a specific media publication and reporter you’d like to pitch to. Now, it’s time to send the email, make the phone call or set up the meeting. There are a few things to keep in mind when developing a pitch strategy.
As we’ve already established, making your message personal is number one. Next, it’s important to help the journalist or reporter understand the big picture. You’re more than likely not the only pitch they’ll hear today, so make sure they understand the newsworthiness of your story. It is critical to mention their readership and why your story resonates with them. Give the necessary details but keep it simple. Show them that you value their time. Be prepared to give a compelling pitch and have any supporting material ready to send after your initial pitch.
Don’t forget, it’s a 2-way street – journalists need ideas in order to write stories! Don’t be afraid to reach out, make a connection and get your story covered by the media. Want some help fostering relationships with the media? We can help improve your public relations strategy. Schedule a 15-minute consultation at your convenience, and let’s talk about it. RobFelber@FelberPR.com, (330) 963-3664.
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