If you are handling your own marketing and want to generate publicity for your firm, you increase the likelihood that your efforts will succeed by following these basic tips:
• Email is usually better than the phone. With widespread and sometimes deep cuts at many media outlets, reporters and producers must do more with less and so they are busier than ever. Therefore, most of them they don’t have time to field phone calls.
• Keep it short. When you pitch a story or interview idea via email, make your message brief and to the point:
-- Explain who you are and what your firm does
-- Be clear about what you are pitching and why it’s important, new or different. Whenever possible, make your pitch relevant and timely by tying it to a new trend, a change in the law, recent statistics, and so on.
-- Make it more likely that busy media people will take the time to read your email by writing an attention-getting subject line that helps signal what your pitch is about.
Tip: If a media person responds to your email by expressing an interest in talking with you or by asking for additional information, reply immediately. If he or she is dealing with a deadline and you take your time getting back to that person, you are likely to miss out on the opportunity for media attention.
• Follow-up is essential. Don't assume that if someone in the media doesn’t respond immediately to your email, he or she is not interested in your pitch. Given the volume of emails that media people receive every day, you may need to send two or three follow up emails before anyone responds. I never assume that I will hear back right away when I send an email pitch to the media.
Tip: If you send a reporter or producer three emails and you don’t hear back from him or her, it’s probably safe to assume it’s because he or she not interested in your pitch, so don’t send a fourth. Although persistence pays when it comes to generating publicity, too much followup will put you risk for being perceived by the media as a pest, which will work against you next time you pitch them.
• Build relationships by being helpful. Let the media know that you’re available to serve as a resource whenever they are covering a topic related to your area/s of expertise. Journalists are always looking for new experts to talk to and most of them maintain lists of people they can contact to obtain background information about specific topics. Becoming a trusted resource for the media may not lead to immediate attention for you and your firm, but it's likely to pay dividends in the long run.
• Target your efforts. Contact the reporters and producers most likely to be interested in your pitch based on what they have written about in the past, the shows they have produced in the past, etc. A good way to do this is to google the name of the reporter or producer, or the name of the radio or TV show.
• Make the most of your media interviews. Put links to them on your web site and Facebook page; mention the media attention in your e-newsletter; blog and tweet about the interviews.
• Say thanks. When you receive some positive print publicity or do a TV or radio interview, send a thank you. The media are just like everyone else – they like to be appreciated.
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