You know the old saw, “If you want to have friends, you have to be friendly.” The same could be said for brands interested in connecting with media sources and building relationships in the hopes of generating earned media. The key component of this interaction is understanding the way to go about interacting with the media.
Accept They Have Deadlines
Reporters have deadlines, it’s the defining foundation in their line of work. These deadlines don’t care about your schedule, your excuses, or your personal challenges. The presses, literal or metaphorical, are running, and the pages have to be filled on time. You might assume that the world of digital reporting and web media has more flexibility. You would be wrong. Sure, they don’t have press run timelines to hit, but they still have deadlines. And, of course, the internet is a world of immediacy. Being first matters, so the sooner you can get compelling and timely content to a source, the better your chances of earning that media presence. If you’re not going to make it, let someone know as soon as you do. You may miss this chance, or you may be able to work something out. Regardless, that reporter will remember and appreciate the integrity. Just as they will remember the sources who let them down.
Perfect the Connection
Your subject line and lead are the most important aspects of your pitch. While the whole pitch needs to be good, approach your pitch as if the reporter is drowning in them. Especially if you are just beginning to establish a relationship with that outlet. Now, I’m not telling you to be “creative,” here, because that word is far too subjective. You are much better served to be topical, and to approach a reporter or outlet that is looking for what you are offering. So, instead ALL CAPS, hyperbole, and clickbait, give them what they are actually looking for. Not only do you increase your odds of your message being read, you will establish trust.
Be Persistent but Not Assumptive
Reporters owe you nothing. Sure, a response may be polite, but when they are receiving huge numbers of submissions every day, they may not have time for that courtesy. So, there you are, on the other end of what feels like a one-sided conversation. You need to know if your efforts connected, so there’s no harm in checking. Just don’t be a pest. Follow up – once – using multiple contact points. Then wait. Seriously, give them time. If you don’t hear back, they probably passed. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again with another story, at another time. They’re probably just not interested in this one at this time.
Timing is Vital
“When” you send your story or press release is just as important as “what” you send. Study your media choices. Look at their publishing trends and cross reference those with trends and current events. Is your topic timely? Does it connect or allude to anything hot happening at the moment?
Find the Best Fit
Don’t just send your content to everyone and hope someone bites. Take the time to research media outlets that are looking for the kind of content you produce or stories about the products or services you represent. A media outlet that works great for someone else may not be for you, and vice versa. Look at industry-related options, local options, boutique and niche publications. You want your message to go to the right audience, so research accordingly.
How have you used these tips to be successful in your marketing and PR efforts? Is there anything else you might ad?