As part of our pitch-uation series, we’re going to share how you can eliminate some of the difficulty when it comes to pitching the media. Really, how hard can pitching the media be, right? It’s not like you’re building a spaceship or anything, so…piece of cake!
Well, you are attempting to establish and/or maintain a relationship – which anyone who has ever dated can admit – may be a challenge…this whole “relationship” thing. Usually it’s not as emotionally-charged as dating, however, it requires persistence, patience and pitch-worthiness…in no particular order and all three “P’s” are important. Plus, there are so many ways to connect now-a-days (Twitter, FB, etc.) that you have options.
Persistence is required because the media are inundated with emails, posts, tweets and requests for coverage. There’s a careful dance that’s done here. You don’t want to be annoyingly persistent by let’s say…sending the same email pitch over and over or insisting that your story should be shared, product featured, etc. The persistence involves understanding that you have a story to share with the world, and creatively thinking of different ways to share and get the word out. Don’t be afraid to follow-up, as there have been plenty of times that the media has thanked us for the follow-up as they were buried in e-mails, other stories, etc. A quick “check-in” can be helpful, but know when to move on and come up with another angle or new pitch. Also, remember to reach out when you don’t want anything, to let them know that you saw their coverage or article, or share other tidbits that may be of interest to them. Find a way to remain top of mind, without being annoying.
On-going media success takes patience. We always tell people if they need to see their business name in the media tomorrow (along with a call-to-action), they’ll want to do some advertising and this option is not always cost-efficient, and is actually improved with a good PR strategy. Advertising can happen quickly.
Public relations? This can take time, and it’s worth the wait because the value of third party credibility can’t be denied. It is one thing to toot your own horn, but it’s great when someone else finds the information you know (and have to share) to be of value to a larger audience. You’ll want to know the outlet that you’re reaching out to, follow their stories and their writers and see which one is the best fit and most likely to cover your business. Many media professionals receive several thousand e-mails a week…it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, but if you pitch consistent, relevant and good content, you can grab some attention!
You must have a tough love conversation with yourself before pushing out any pitch. Ask yourself: Is this release or pitch really worthy of press coverage? Am I presenting real, newsworthy and interesting content that the media’s audience can relate to? Is this the right contact for this story?
The media’s job is not to promote your product. Yes, you will ultimately receive visibility for your business, however, their goal is focused on bringing interesting content to their audience/readers. Does your product/service make people more aware of a solution to a problem? Does it motivate them to take action? Does it inspire them?
Let’s take moving into a new office building. Unless it’s some state-of-the-art or LEED-certified facility (and sometimes even then), the building is not likely to be all that newsworthy on its own. It’s the story behind the move or inside the building that makes it interesting. For example, the company is growing, new jobs will be added, they’ve implemented an innovative, flexible work program, etc. Your new location is great, but you have to be realistic about what, who and why anyone else should care.
Reaching the right media contact, providing valuable information, being a resource, etc. this is what helps to make a connection and ultimately, garner coverage.
So pitchin’ the media isn’t rocket science, but it does take work. How are you keeping your business story fresh?