Do you have all the facts, know what you’re going to say and believe that your message is important, but never get a media placement? Maybe it’s the way you are communicating? Yes, it most certainly is. I’ve listed 4 effective PR pitching tips to improve your communication with the media and efficiently increase media impressions for your company and/or client.
Know the beat
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a mistake a lot of PR peeps make. Make sure you do your research. Familiarize yourself with the publication, and make sure you’re not wasting your time by pitching to the wrong beat reporter. You will lose your credibility fast and let’s be honest, it looks unprofessional. A great way to find the right beat and/or beat reporter is to simply go to the publication Web site. Some news mediums have separate reporter profiles, some do not. I currently use a CisionPoint database (formerly Bacon’s Directory). CisionPoint offers individual reporter profiles, but it is costly. A cheaper method? Try Twitter. Twitter is becoming an excellent tool to find out info about media contacts AND it’s FREE. Twitter is serving as my new relationship-builder and point-of-contact for my national contacts. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter and you’re a PR/communications professional … we need to talk!
Make it short and develop “kickers”
Sometimes I’ll send an email to a media contact and say something like, “Hey Susie, I see you’ve been covering a lot of stories on the recession and donation decline. Wondering if you’d be interested in talking to one of our employees who is giving back more—despite trying times. Press release is attached. Call me!” It entices the person to return the message. You’re news release can be long and packed with details, but your initial pitch … no way!
Email, phone or fax?
Just because you prefer email over a phone call doesn’t mean the reporter or editor you are trying to reach does too. Find out how that particular person likes to receive their news and respect those wishes—otherwise you are wasting your time.
Are you truly available?
Is it easy for a reporter to find your contact information? This tip can go a long way (I should probably blog about how to pitch to difference mediums in the future because it’s so important). As mentioned earlier, every reporter, journalist and editor has a different way they like to be pitched to. But make sure it’s really easy for them to find you as well! Few ways to do this: Always have contact info at end of emails, phone calls, social media sites, fax communication AND most IMPORTANTLY, on your company or clients’ corporate Web site.
Side note: I met a truly fantastic, young communications pro at a Ragan Communications Corporate Communicators Conference in Chicago these past few days. I was so excited to know more, mainly because I know her nitch is somewhat untouched in the corporate communications field. I’ll be posting either a guest post or highlight on the information she provided in the upcoming weeks. Even if you’re not in the communications, PR or marketing field, I promise most of you will eat her stuff up! STAY TUNED!