If you’ve ever witnessed a little kid birthday party you know about being on the wrong end of a person to person ratio. It’s a lot of noise with you begging, “For the love of sprinkles, someone listen to me!” Not pretty, but it’s exactly what’s going on in PR these days and company reps (and owners) are feeling it.
Recent data says that media relations professionals now outnumber reporters by nearly 5 to 1. With numbers like that the only way your company message is heard is if you’ve cultivated relationships with reporters. That way when you have news, there will be someone who can pick you out of the crowd.
Key to your development of relationships with the media is providing reporters, producers and editors with quality, dependable content in a timely manner. Your company blog is your best PR tool. Instead of trying to manufacture relevant company news for a press release, your blog can give you industry related news and thought leadership pieces to share with the media. It’s like a gift for a reporter covering your industry – but only if you make sure it has the nuts and bolts the media are searching for:
- Statistics and data related to your industry
- Information on new products, services or ways of doing business
- Tips and how to’s
- Human-interest stories that get the adrenaline (or tears flowing)
If you need some help getting your company blog going, click here for a free resource.
If your marketing team (and maybe that’s you also) has got the blog down, you’re ready to start connecting with media. Here are a few ways you can pitch your blog to the media:
1. Don’t push a mass release. Send an engaging personal email.
Before you fire it off, ask yourself, Why is my news important to this person? It’s about them, not you. (Feel free to spend as much time composing your subject line as you do the email. It’s that important.)
In the body include a few sentences about your topic, why it’s relevant to the news source you are pitching (please do your research), a link to your blog and a file of related high-resolution images suitable for print and web. Lastly, include your contact information.
2. Find your reporter or editor on social media and act social like.
You sent the email, now follow them on Twitter and continue to communicate with them without straight up pushing your news. Don’t stalk them. They have a job to do and responding to your tweets is not their priority. It’s best to just let them know you appreciate their writing and share their content often. That will help you stay top-of-mind. If you read or watch one of their pieces related to your industry make a relevant, intelligent comment that furthers discussion on social media. Be authentic.
3. Throw the Hail Mary phone call.
If you’ve made a specific, personal pitch through email and tried to connect on social with no response, a call can be in order. Email can occasionally end up in spam and, like you, reporters, producers and editors get overwhelmed by their inbox. It’s ok to call, once. “I’m calling about XYZ and if you need any other information, my contact info is on my email…”
4. Be patient.
You’d think that our crazy fast paced news cycle would mean media people would get back to you instantly when they’re interested in your news. Not necessarily.
I just received a reply on an email pitch I sent on behalf of client in June. June. That was six months ago. The magazine is well known and influential in my client’s industry so it was worth the wait. Because the email contained a relevant pitch and helpful collateral, in this case, a spec sheet and an ebook about a product, the editors had the information they needed to include the client in an upcoming feature about new design and building materials. The response wasn’t on my timeline, but the result is pivotal for this client’s product launch, and certainly for our agency securing future work.
Being the voice of your company is a powerful position.
If you’ve developed those key media relationships and built a track record as a dependable industry news source and used your company blog to establish thought leadership, you have the power to change the way people think about your industry. And that will change how your company thinks about you. As Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks says, “Be an investment, not an expense.”