Successfully pitching a story to media outlets can earn do wonders for your business. It can ensure a placement with a media outlet, which can increase awareness of your brand among your targeted audience, which will ultimately help to boost your sales and your success. However, in order to reap these benefits, you first need to make sure that you know how to pitch media outlets.
One of the best ways to build your business is to be picked up by the press. Whether it’s a full story or a short snippet, businesses that are covered by the press enjoy tons of benefits, including more recognition by the general public, a great reputation, and better brand awareness. All of these benefits translate to more success for your business, which is what every business owner dreams of.
Getting picked up by the media isn’t as easy as it might appear, however. While it’s true that there are tons of media outlets, all of them receive dozens upon dozens of pitches every single day. That means that unless your pitch stands out, it’s probably going to get lost in an email inbox or in a pile of pitches that have stacked up on someone’s desk.
How can you make your pitch stand out and ensure that you get picked up by the media? Here are some highly effective tips that will help you successfully pitch media outlets so that you can get your business put on the map.
If you want to successfully pitch the media, the first thing you need to do is establish relationships with them. Think about it: you’re probably much more likely to sit and listen to something someone you know says than what something a complete stranger has to say. The same is true when pitching your story to the media. Like we said before, media outlets receive countless pitches on a daily basis; however, if they are familiar with the person who is pitching them, they are much more likely to take notice of your story. Make sure you take the time to reach out to the editorial staff of whatever media outlet you plan on pitching before you actually send your story along. Your efforts will definitely be worth your while.
Run-of-the-mill stories aren’t going to get any attention. Why? – Because they aren’t newsworthy. They’ve been shared before and they just don’t stand out. Stories that are captivating, attention-grabbing and offer value are the ones that are going to get noticed. Before you send a pitch along to the media, make sure that you have an excellent story to tell them. You also want to avoid making your story a blatant advertisement for your business, your products or services, or yourself. Of course, the goal of media coverage is advertising; however, if your pitch runs like a commercial, it isn’t going to get picked up. Tie your pitch into something relevant and newsworthy; current events, an upcoming holiday, a season, or something that is occurring in your community that is really important. These are the types of stories the media wants to share and the public wants to hear.
People are highly visual. Though your story might be incredible, blocks of text might not convey it well. To make your pitch pop, add in some eye-catching visuals. Whether it’s graphs, photos of people using your products, or a video of your business interacting with the community for a worthwhile cause, visuals will really go a long way and help your pitch stand out from the crowd.
You wouldn’t try to pitch a story about handmade home dÃ©cor made out of recycled products to a women’s lingerie store, just like you wouldn’t contact Better Homes and Gardens to pitch a story about men’s formalwear.
An important rule of thumb: Never pitch to a media outlet or an editor unless you have familiarized yourself with their work. Rea through magazines or newspapers, or watch segments of their television shows. Doing so will allow you to determine if your story will tie into their style and appeal to their audience. If you don’t have background information about the media outlet, you are blindly pitching, which means that you are wasting your time – and theirs. Take the time to study the media outlets you plan on pitching to before you actually send a pitch along.
Put on your thinking cap and get creative. Be on the lookout for out of the ordinary ways to place yourself into your community that the media will find interesting. How can you make your brand, your business, your products and services, and yourself, unique and stand out so that the media will take notice and want to cover you?
Always, always, always introduce yourself before you pitch the media. Even if the outlet knows you and you have a relationship, make sure you introduce yourself before you start going into your pitch. Mention your name, the company you’re associated with and the reason for your call. No editor wants to pick up the phone or read an email and start hearing or reading a pitch right away.
As a rule of thumb, a pitch should be no longer than 30 seconds. The longer and more drawn out it is, the less interested the party you are contacting is going to be. You also want to be sure that you ask whomever it is you are speaking with if it’s a good time to talk about a pitch. Just like you, editors have a job to get done and a lot of work to do, so you want to make sure that you aren’t interrupting anything.
Always follow up after you have pitched a story. Lots of possible stories get lost in the shuffle simply because those who pitch them don’t follow up. While your story may be a great one, the media has a lot on their plate and may have simply forgotten about your pitch. Following up will remind them.