At Brandware, we are in the business of storytelling and, as such, we never stop hunting for the next media opportunity. But, to tell the world about your client’s great story, you need to know how to pitch reporters effectively. Here are five tips on how to engage with the media to make sure your next scoop is picked up.
Personalize your pitches to the journalists you’re contacting. Make sure your story aligns with the beat they cover, and that the outlet is a good fit.
2. Be a Resource
You obviously want to be a resource for the media on behalf of your client, but you should also strive to be a resource for a reporter or editor even when it doesn’t immediately benefit you. If you come across some statistics or industry insights that would be valuable to a journalist, send it their way. Or, if you have a friend whose client would be a good fit for a story, make the introduction. Talk to target media when you don’t need something from them. This will help you build a relationship with them and ensure that you stand out from the crowd, giving you an edge for coverage when you’re in a pinch.
3. Journalists are People Too
In the industry, PR professionals and journalists are often portrayed as polar opposites. But this is far from the truth. Communication is a two-way street and journalists count on us just as much as we need them. Most of the time journalists will work with you, whether it’s correcting an error in a piece or changing some information. Do not be afraid of conversing with the media, they’re just people doing their jobs, same as you, and they want their stories to be as accurate and compelling as possible. Never fear being straight with a reporter.
4. Don’t Overpitch or Overpromise
Not every story is going to land media coverage. Sometimes the timing is off, or the reporter may already have other stories in progress. Don’t waste a reporter’s time trying to force a story that isn’t a good fit. Be honest and see what else they have coming up soon that might work. You might lose this coverage in the moment, but if you push forward, you could burn a bridge and jeopardize many opportunities in the future.
5. Read What your Target Media is Writing (and Engage)
This one may seem obvious, but it is crucial to have a feel for a reporter’s writing style and the topics they frequently cover. This will make crafting pitches easier and increase your chances of securing coverage. If you want to have meaningful engagement with the media, you must be aware of the content they put out. Research the journalist, check out their Twitter feed and identify who their audience is. Taking the extra step will make your pitches more relevant and enticing to the publications.
We also recommend engaging with reporters about their articles. But, if you do this, be authentic. Don’t just send a note that says, “I liked your story on such and such.” Tell them why you liked it. Again, don’t include an ask from them. Just have a conversation about what they wrote. Reporters put a lot of time and energy into what they write and, like everyone, they want to know their work is well-received.
If you’re looking for someone to help you navigate the world of media relations or handle your next PR campaign, contact us today.