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Pitch Smarter, Not Harder: 4 Tips to Improve Media Relations

Posted by Angela Masciarelli on June 23, 2015

Pitch-SmarterPitching is an art. It takes time, research, and flexibility to pull off a great media relations strategy. Well that, and being able to offer newsworthy content (we’ll get back to this in a minute).

While there’s no “fool proof” plan to secure media coverage (if there is, I definitely would like to know), there are ways to improve your current processes.  

So, how can you secure earned media coverage in targeted publications? The secret is to pitch smarter, not harder. To help you accomplish this, here are a few tips to jazz up your current PR strategies.

4 Tips to Inspire Your Media Relations Strategy 

1. Blasts are so in the past.

Pull a targeted media list (check). Write an interesting pitch (check). Click mail merge and haphazardly send to hundreds of contacts (check).

If your media relations strategy looks anything like the above scenario, it’s time to update your method immediately. While email blasts are an efficient method of pitching, they're not the most effective.

Reporters can tell the difference between email blasts and personalized pitches—and they often don’t appreciate plug-and-chug robotic communications. Instead, take the time to narrow down your media list to a handful of super-duper-targeted reporters, and customize your pitches per outlet. 

2. Invest in your relationships.

Cold calling a reporter is probably not the most romantic way of building a relationship. Instead, take the time to understand their job—then determine how you can help make their job easier.

When creating your targeted media list, research each contact’s:

  • Current outlet
  • Beat
  • Recent articles
  • Social media profiles

Now that you’ve semi-stalked your contacts, connect with them. Follow them on social media, share their content to help drive traffic, and comment on relevant articles to strike up a thoughtful conversation. Prove that you are helpful, and not just a buzzing fly.

3. Be helpful, but don’t nag.

According to Dan Ovsey (@DanOvsey) account director at Edelman (@EdelmanTO), sharing relevant content helps you build rapport with reporters.

When building a relationship with a media contact, find and share helpful sources related to their beat. (Tip: Many reporters prefer being contacted via email). Your outreach efforts may not directly benefit you in the short term; however, this helps position you as a reliable source in the long run.

While it’s good to be helpful, keep in mind that it’s bad to be annoying. There’s a fine line between friendly-follow-ups and restraining-order-stalker. Try not to cross that line. 

4. Share news.

Finally, make sure your pitches are newsworthy, and worthwhile.

A company may not have dozens of groundbreaking major changes each year, but there may be ways to align available resources with current events and trends. 

As a public relations pro, it’s your job to always have your ear to the ground (or, I guess your eyes on your smartphone) to find the latest and greatest news. When a relevant news story breaks, you have to be nimble to get your pitch drafted and in the hands of the right reporter as soon as possible.

For more tips to help improve your media relations efforts, check out these additional resources:

What other tips do you have to improve media relations? Share your thoughts and lessons learned in our comments section below!  

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Image Credit: thedailyenglishshow.com via Flickr Creative Commons

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