It’s easy for a story to get lost in the constant firehose of headlines being generated in today’s “24-7 and right now” media cycles. Trying to get the attention of a specific media outlet can feel impossible, and trying to get your narrative out the way you want it can be a real battle… or at least feel like one.
Getting the word out about your brand doesn’t need to feel or to be impossible. There are still a few simple steps you can take to do well with your media contacts to get your message out through the right channels to the right people at the precise time it will do your brand the most good.
Learn What You Don’t Know
There is an ever-changing sea of names and brands and outlets looking for stories, and they may be looking for your story… but you won’t know that unless you know them. And I don’t mean you met at a party and exchanged business cards. You need to do your research. Get to know all the media outlets that could offer maximum exposure for your brand.
Learn what industries they work in and what businesses and brands they like to support. Research the kinds of stories they like to run, and which reporters tend to get which stories. If you have a story similar to one that a certain reporter always gets a hit with, it certainly would pay off to know that, right?
Look for reporters, writers, and content distributors that share similar perspectives on what you’re all about, then build on that affinity by learning more about them: what they do and why they do it. The more information you have, the better you will understand your market… and theirs.
Perfect Your Pitch
The key is to grab interest then follow through with a worthwhile story that helps them accomplish their goals. Every news provider everywhere has space to fill, and they are looking for a specific sort of news item to fill that space. If you give it to them, they will remember. Do that a few times, and reporters will begin to look for your name in their inbox.
When you’re making your pitch — especially the first pitch — there are a few guidelines to follow. First, it’s best to already have a relationship with that journalist. It’s not absolutely necessary, but if you did your homework in step 1 correctly, you should be prepared. Next, keep it short, specific, and simple. Don’t try to write the story for them. Try to interest them in the story. Reporters are curious by nature, but they’re also adept at quickly determining what they aren’t interested in. Let them know why your story is relevant to them and, more importantly, to their audience. But don’t just “say” that… Give them a good reasons so they know you’ve thought about it.
Clicking “send” on what you think is the ideal pitch isn’t “getting it done.” You need to follow up. It’s your responsibility to ignite the conversation and keep it going, not theirs. They have an inbox of people trying to send them perfect pitches. Be the polite, but squeaky, wheel. Just remember, don’t make it about “you,” make it about how the story will connect with their readers. When you have that mindset, it’s much easier to get out of your own way and avoid some of the mistake people making communicating with the media.