“What exactly do you do?” That’s a familiar question for public relations professionals. PR is multi-faceted, to say the least, so the answer is tough to put your finger on.
One area of PR is media relations. In this post, we’ll walk through basic steps of pitching the media, which is crucial to successful media relations. In a future post, we’ll broaden the scope and discuss how social media integrates with PR.
Media Relations & Pitching Basics
Media relations = getting your client in the news. Easy, right? So, how do you do it? Getting clients in the news starts and ends with media pitching. Below are some basic steps to help you create an effective pitch.
Step 1: Develop a story angle – Your story angle is the foundation on which your pitch will stand (or collapse). The angle is the story’s point of uniqueness or relevancy. Identify your story’s angle and build your pitch around it.
Tip: Many times, a good angle is shaped around research. For example, if you’re pitching your client’s mobile navigation app, and the app was found to route users to their destinations 30% faster than all other navigation apps, that data point provides for a good angle. Do some digging to find relevant data that will help you craft a persuasive pitch.
Step 2: Research outlets and reporters – Make sure the reporter or publication you’re pitching will find your story relevant. Read reporters’ stories and see what they talk about on social media to get a sense of what they like to write about.
Tip: While researching, make sure to find accurate contact information for the reporter(s) you’re trying to reach. Check the “Contact” page on the website for the reporters’ outlet.
Step 3: Pitch – Now, write your pitch. The key here is the make it easy for the reporter. Be succinct, work in your story angle and include appropriate data points.
Tip: Use the knowledge you gained from researching reporters in your pitch. Including mentions of relevant stories the reporter has written makes it evident that you’re attentive to his/her beat.
Step 4: Follow up – After you pitch through email, you should always call reporters to follow up. First, make sure they saw your story idea. Second, ask if they’re interested in covering it. If they’re interested, great. If not, don’t pressure them. If they’re on the fence, concisely reintroduce your story angle to see if you can pique their interest.
Tip: There’s no specific amount of time for waiting between an email pitch and a follow-up call. Anticipate how much time reporters will need to read your idea and decide if they’re interested.
Step 5: Thank yous – This one’s easy. If a reporter picks up your story, send them a thank you! An email or a handwritten note works. Use your best judgment as to how to express your gratitude.
Got it? Good. There are certainly other nuances you’ll pick up along the way, many of which you should incorporate into your pitching approach depending on your strengths and preferences.
To make it easier on you, we’ve included some resources to round out your overall PR efforts.
Martin Davison Public Relations recently hosted a public relations 101 workshop for the American Advertising Federation of Buffalo to discuss the above tips. Learn more about AAF events – https://aafbuffalo.com/events/.