Consistent and positive media coverage helps businesses generate awareness, reach and engage with new audiences, differentiate themselves from the competition, build credibility, protect their reputation and even generate some great follow links that will boost their search marketing efforts. So really, it’s a no brainer.
But how do you actually get journalists to write about your business? That’s easier said than done.
Don’t sell to them
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to engaging with the media is assuming journalists will be as interested in their business as they are. Unless you are the likes of Apple, journalist don’t really care about your latest product launch or how brilliant your product is. And they probably won’t really care if you’ve moved into a new office or hired someone either (some will, but most won’t!).
But that’s not to say they don’t want to hear from you. They do. You just need to get more creative with the types of stories and comments you are approaching them with. Journalists love facts and figures that indicate industry trends and they really love business leaders with an opinion. So, think about whether your business has any data that might be interesting to them? Or does your CEO have an interesting entrepreneurial backstory? Does your CEO have strong opinions on some upcoming legislation or an issue that is impacting your business? Have a think about what kind of topics you want to be talking about in the media and then…
Do your research
Most journalists receive hundreds of pitches every single day and most of them will go unanswered. How do you make sure your pitch stands out and you get a response? Do your research. Think about which publications you would like to feature in and then research which journalists write about what.
Once you have identified the right person to contact, (you don’t want to be taking a news story to a features editor, nor does a business reporter want a human interest story, for example), then read through some of their latest stories and develop a deep understanding of the kind of topics and businesses they like to cover. Treat each journalist as an individual, have a look at their Twitter feed, find out how they like to be approached (most say email only, but some like to be pitched over social media or on the phone) and then tailor your communication accordingly.
Get to the point
Journalists are by very nature very busy people so don’t waste time in your pitch asking how they are and if they are having a nice day. Try not to launch straight in with a spiel about your business either. Instead summarise your story idea in a sentence or two with a further synopsis summarising what you can talk about in more detail and why this is interesting to them. And don’t forget to come up with an engaging subject line to ensure they open your email in the first place.
And it’s always handy if you have a great image to accompany your story idea too.
Pitching journalists can be daunting and pretty draining, but when done correctly it can really help put your business on the map, build your profile and differentiate you from the competition. Take your time in working out what you want to be known for, do your research into what your target journalists actually like writing about and then be really targeted in your approach and you will be on the right track.
Need help building your profile or managing your reputation? We speak to journalist day in day out, so get in touch and see how we can help.