Alas, one size does not fit all in media anymore. So much time can be wasted doing a blanket release or pitch to multiple outlets, when what works best is picking and choosing a few extremely relevant outlets that will benefit your client and the journalists you are pitching. Yes, in certain instances it is wise to still use media services to blast out pitches to all media, but also know that picking and choosing select few –the right few — will result in better PR for your client. We as PR professionals know this, but in the spirit of Back to School I made this simple list to serve as a reminder to myself to never lose sight of what the ultimate PR goals are for each campaign, and what an ultimate “win” is going to look like for a client.
Go back to PR 101” Why Ask Why.”
We need to constantly ask ourselves, “Why is this story relevant and to what audience is it relevant?” It sounds so simple, but in this world of fast-paced social media, our jobs are becoming more and more of that of an expert storyteller, creating multiple crafted pitches for each specific outlet. Picture yourself as the reporter and ask yourself why you would care about this story or topic, and why their audience would care about it. If you can’t figure out why people will care then it is not worth pitching, and is a waste of the journalist’s time.
Find out what a dream PR placement looks like for your client.
I recently worked with a new client who was just that – completely new to PR — and we were crafting a story from scratch. In talking to him it became clear to me that a “win” to him was to be featured in a prominent but much smaller local community paper than I would traditionally consider a “win” – i.e. a feature in the top daily newspaper. This was a great reminder to me to never forget to talk to your client and see what is really relevant to them and will give them the most ROI. In this case it was in crafting a more hyper-local story in a particular area of town on them and their business, which actually got him more business. There is a reason why so many localized community newspapers, magazines and web sites are thriving.
You’ve done your research. You have crafted the best pitch EVER for your client. You blast it out, and then…. Crickets….
Don’t take it personally! It may be hard, especially if you are having a rough day (or if you are an only child like me), but remember, journalists are people too. You may have the best pitch in the world, but it’s just not what their editor wants right now. Reporters are constantly on deadlines and are being inundated by emails just like the rest of us. Unless I am working on a breaking news story, it is very rare now for me to get an email instantly back from a pitch to a reporter. Be willing and able to continuously watch what they are writing and craft your pitch to something that is helpful to them. Don’t assume that an unanswered email means a “no.” And always be respectful of their time when following up.
Don’t forget to do your homework
As a freelance writer and reporter friend of mine recently told me, “The cold pitches I read and respond to are from publicists that do their homework before reaching out to me in the first place. They are typically personalized emails that begin complimenting some of my recent work, introducing themselves and simply filling me in on how they see the brand or person they represent fitting into the type of stories I write.” Think of it this way, if someone is trying to get your attention which do you prefer? A blanket “Hey there! I’m selling a new product” or “Hey Laura, I just read your latest article on XXX (loved it by the way!) and thought this may be of interest to you.” Call me crazy but I’d go for the latter every time.
It’s The Little Things
At the end of it all, you’ve gotten great coverage, and your client is thrilled. It is so easy to move on from this and go to the next outlet and the next big thing, but never, ever forget to say a simple “Thank You” to the journalist that wrote your story. They have a lot to choose from after all, and they thought your pitch was awesome and made them look great to their editor. We are all busier than ever with tighter deadlines, and a simple “thank you” is sometimes worth a thousand words.
Cheers to your next campaign!