How to Pitch Business Stories to the Media
So, you’ve learned how to write a killer press release and are now ready to get the message out. But, how do you do that? And who should you target? How do you make sure your press release gets the attention it deserves? These are important questions. If you do it right, you can get those articles and interviews – but it will take some time and effort. Here are some tips for getting your press release the media attention you want.
- Find an angle. Take something of interest that is topical to your industry, product, or company and tie it to something relevant in current events. Look for a way to solve a problem or come at it from an angle that is unique.
- Send it to the right contact. For a daily newspaper, contact the editor in charge of the section that relates to your story. For radio or TV, reach out to the news director. You can also email key people in your industry or reach out to bloggers. You want as much coverage and attention as possible.
- Do your research. Not every publication or media outlet is the right fit. Find out what areas they cover and which fits your message best so you don’t waste your time targeting the wrong medium.
- Personalize it. Don’t just put a mass email together and hit send. Get the name of the person you need to contact and send it to them directly. Many times their names are listed on the medium’s website, but you can always call the main number and just ask. Adjust your pitch for the media outlet you are targeting. For example, if you want to get on TV, talk to a producer about how you can provide video footage or access to set up a film crew.
- Rely on social. If you still can’t reach people via the traditional means, check out Twitter or LinkedIn. They can be useful in finding a name and you could always send a message or connect to them. Just don’t send public messages through social networks.
- Give plenty of lead time. If you have an important announcement, don’t send the information on the day of or even the day before the event will happen. Give some advanced notice as reporters work with a calendar and schedule.
- Include photos. Don’t send them through email as they may be too large and may not go through. Send a link to a service like Dropbox. Video is also great to include if you have it. The more media content you offer, the more likely you are to get picked up.
- Follow up. While you likely will not get an answer immediately, give a call or send an email to inquire about your request. Wait three or four days to give them time and to avoid appearing too pushy. If after one or two follow-up attempts, you still don’t get a response, then assume the reporter isn’t interested in that topic and move on.
- Avoid busy times. You may find first thing in the morning gives you a better chance of a response. Calling or emailing close to print or broadcast deadline means that messages may get lost in the rush.
- Be realistic. It’s not easy to secure press coverage. It takes persistence and consistency. It may take some time for the outlets to get to know you, but once they do and are comfortable, you can be their go-to person when they need an expert.
Have you written a press release that has been picked up by the media? Share your story in the comments below.
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