Getting publicity can help build brand awareness, foster thought leadership and position you and your company as experts in your industry.
You might think the only way to get the media’s attention is by hiring a public relations agency, but as a journalist, I can tell you that’s a myth.
Although public relations pros have lots of contacts and relationships with editors, journalists, and producers and spend their days pitching. Retainer fees are pricey and can run between 2,000 and 10,000 a month, not to mention media hits are never guaranteed and their pitches aren’t always effective. In fact, according to a 2016 report by Cision, more than 78 percent of journalists say public relations professionals fall short when it comes to tailoring their pitches.
With a bit of research, know-how and a few simple strategies, you can get media attention without hiring a PR agency.
Do your homework
One of the most common mistakes PR agencies make is sending the same exact pitch to every outlet they pitch. In fact, according to a survey by Fractl, 80 percent of publishers say receiving pitches that are irrelevant to their beat is a common reason they decline them.
Before sending your pitch, familiarize yourself with the outlet’s content and the stories they publish and tailor your pitch for the outlet in both content, voice, and style. Search the site to make sure the idea you’re pitching hasn’t already been covered. Most outlets also post submission or writer’s guidelines on their sites which will give you information about their audience, the types of stories they need and how to pitch them.
Offer something new
To increase the chance of having your pitch accepted, offer a new study, survey or a fresh, unique perspective. Make it timely and relevant and the media will pay attention.
Don’t pitch you
Journalists, editors, and producers need story ideas but so often companies pitch products or offer themselves as sources. Although this could be valuable if they need a niche expert or are writing a holiday gift guide for example, what the media really needs are great, newsworthy story ideas.
Don’t email your pitch to the general mailbox or contact form. Search the outlet’s site or use LinkedIn to find the name of the appropriate editor, journalist or producer and email that person directly.
Make it quick
Fifty-seven percent of publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches a week and only 35 percent say they sometimes read them, the same survey by Fractl found.
The person you’re pitching is usually on a deadline and doesn’t have time to read your entire pitch. When writing your pitch, include a strong subject line, get to the main point as fast as possible and keep the pitch between 100 and 200 words.
Include multimedia assets
To help drive traffic, increase engagement and tell the story in a visual way, media outlets need photos, infographics, and videos. When you send a pitch, be sure to include multimedia assets. Sending a clip of past interviews is particularly important if you’re looking to be interviewed on TV.
The media works quickly so if you send a pitch, make sure you’re available or at least be flexible enough to conduct an interview. If you’re not responsive or say you’re too busy, they’ll move on and find someone else.