Some media efforts are a big success and others are major flops. So what’s the difference? In large part, it’s a matter of approach. Here’s what works and what doesn’t:
This Works: Spend time identifying the right angle/s for what you are publicizing and then craft a short, well-written, convincing pitch with a compelling story line that makes it clear to reporters why your news should be of interest to them. For example, put the news in a broader context by tying it to current events, a trend, a recent survey, or how what you are publicizing helps satisfy a consumer or business need.
This Doesn’t: Write a long, rambling pitch that makes reporters have to work to figure out what is interesting or newsworthy about your news. Most of them will delete your even before they have read even half of it.
This Works: Take time to identity the reporters you think will be most interested in your news. For example, if your story is purely a local one, don’t waste your time contacting members of the national media, and if it relates to a new trend in personal finance, you don’t contact metro page editors.
This Doesn’t: Send your pitch to everyone in your media database regardless of the subjects they typically write about.
This Works: Contact reporters via email initially. Study after study shows that the majority of reporters want to be pitched this way because they are too busy to field phone calls. Plus, using email allows you to present a more fully developed pitch than you can usually do during a phone conversation or in a voice mail message.
This Doesn’t: Get on the phone and start calling reporters. Even worse, call them when they are on deadline.
This Works: Once you’ve sent your initial pitch, send a follow up email a day or two later and may be another one a day or two after that if you’ve not gotten a response. If any reporters express interest in what you are publicizing, respect their deadlines by getting back to them right away, putting them in touch with the people they need to talk and getting them the stats and other information they ask for. If any of the reporters let you know that they are not interested, thank them and move on.
This Doesn’t: Barrage reporters with follow up emails and/or phone calls. Don’t take no for an answer and if any of the reporters do respond to your pitch, take your own sweet time responding to their needs.