Want more press coverage?
Learn what makes a good pitch for a journalist or a blogger.
I received my share of press releases since 2007. It’s saddened me that, in 2015, the inbox of media professionals is still filled with badly targeted pitches. What’s I’m about to share with you is not only based on my own experience. What I’m about to share with you are the findings of lengthy discussions with established bloggers and journalists. Be prepared to take some notes.
I provide here a simple, proven formula. A framework that you can use. The catch is that my framework requires you to put the time and energy to properly execute it.
Give before you ask.
This is a most basic human behaviour. When you ask for help, you get more chances asking who you have helped before and with people who know who you are. So don’t be a stranger. Before you pitch a journalist and a blogger, provide them with tips and useful information, promote their work, interact with what they say online. In short, build a relationship.
Know their work, the types of stories they cover.
As you follow and build a relationship with a selected group of journalists and bloggers, you’ll get a sense of what are the stories that they produce, of what they are looking for in a story, what is their angle, their tilt.
From the reactions from their audience, you get a feel at who they are talking to. Is this the audience you want to reach?
Let me get something straight. Journalists, bloggers and their editors don’t care about your business or your new product. They care about what your story means for their audience. Their goal is to write stories that will entertain, educate, inspire, appeal to their audience. They write stories that are aligned with their editorial mission.
Always keep these facts in mind when you brainstorm pitch ideas. Plus, knowing these facts will allow you to select which story to pitch to which journalist or publication. This is the next point we’ll talk about.
Pace and tailor your pitch.
Don’t burn yourself by pitching the same story to every publication and every journalist. If their competitor wrote about it yesterday, the best publications consider your story old news. You need to be strategic with who and in which order you pitch your story to.
Prepare a pool of different angles, formats and styles. This is not a newsletter. Write a different pitch for every journalist or blogger. If they do a lot of interviews, go for that. If they often cover business lessons, propose them a moment, an experience that shaped you as an entrepreneur or to talk about how you quickly adapt to a lifestyle trend or a change in customer’s behaviour.
The biggest mistake that you can make is to pitch them directly your new product or service. A pitch is not a press release.
Keep your pitch short and to the point. Briefly remind them of who you are, then pitch the angle that would most appeal to that journalist, blogger or editor. Get into their motivations, what they want to deliver to their audience.
To give you a concrete example of the tailoring process for pitching the press, read how I orchestrated as a lifestyle and entertaining blogger getting coverage in the video game blog Kotaku for a birthday party I did for my husband back in 2008. It demonstrates how you tailor your pitch to each publication in a way that they can’t say no.
Don’t underestimate the power of photos.
No access to unique photos or videos is often a deal breaker. Images sell stories but if every publication show the same image, the audience feels that they already read the story and are more likely to skip it.
The best publications have a signature photo style but the publications might not have the budget nor the time to send a photograph or create a stunning photo shoot. It’s so competitive out there to get press coverage that you get an edge if you offer the services of a photograph or to quickly organize a photo shoot that meets their visual storytelling needs.
If you put the time and money, my framework will yield you more press coverage for growing your business and spreading your idea than what you are currently doing. Are you ready to give it a try?