The media is always looking for news to report while marketers need exposure for their content. Media outreach gives you the chance to pitch your content to people who have a platform to share it with a wider audience. It is one of the best ways for companies to build the value of their brand as they market their products and services.
Media outreach is essential for startups and companies that are seeking to get their names published in various publications. It has no limitations and might revolve around the press, social media networks, and popular blogs around the world.
Several startups and young companies struggle with outreach. This is a continuous challenge when you are building a business. However, it is one you must learn to navigate because once you become a pro at it, you can get into most publications. Here is how to become really good at media outreach:
1. Define your audience
Identifying and defining your potential customer gives you insights to guide you in everything, from product development to the creation of content. You should gather information about your potential customer to help you in defining the target audience for your goods or services.
Learn and understand everything about your target audience including their demographics, challenges, motivations, and both online and offline behavior. This will give you an ultimate guide to your media outreach strategy by helping you in defining your target market.
This will also help in understanding where your target audience consumes their news, and where they turn for insights, advice, and entertainment. Once you know where your audience spends their time, you can target those publications, social networks, or blogs in your media outreach.
2. Build media lists
Familiarize yourself with the different types of media outlets that your target audience uses, before researching the best media outlet. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself;
- Can they publish third-party content?
- Do they allow posts on your topic of interest?
- Have you seen evidence that they promote their content widely?
- Is there proof that their posts receive a lot of engagement?
- Do they cover only specific types of content?
- Are you sure their values align with those of your brand?
Once a media outlet has passed these questions, then you can go ahead and do further research to find the journalists who work in this outlet and start building a target media list for outreach. You need to understand the content that the journalist publishes. This is important so that when you pitch them they will know you have interacted with their content.
Your media list needs to have the name of the journalist, their email address, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles as well as some links to their recent stories that resonate with yours.
It is a lot of work to scour the internet web pages from one publication to another trying to find journalists’ contacts. That is why it can be helpful to have access to a media database like the one Pressfarm has built. This database helps you find all this information in one platform. Our tool has over 1 million journalists spanning across Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. It will save you a lot of time searching. Additionally, we can build customized media lists based on your needs within a short time so that you can get started with your outreach.
3. Perfect your email pitch
Work on creating an email pitch that grabs your contact’s attention. It is especially important to pay attention to the headline and the subject line. If you put more effort into your headline and subject lines, there is a chance your email open rates will increase. Media outreach subject lines that convert need to be personal, upfront, newsworthy, and precise.
There is only one chance to give a good first impression. You have to ensure your email stands out in the inboxes of busy journalists. There are two main things that can impress the reader at a first glance – the sender and the subject line.
The subject line is the deciding factor when it comes to whether your email will be opened. Considering that the media receives hundreds of pitches per week, it is important to make your subject line attractive.
People love stories. Therefore, presenting your pitch as a compelling story will help increase the chances of grabbing the journalist’s attention. The good thing about stories is that you can explore your creativity to come up with something that is original and eye-catching. Here are 10 sample email pitches from Pressfarm’s outreach experts for you to learn from and even tweak for your needs.
You should start by ensuring your email pitch is newsworthy and of interest to the media contact and your target audience.
4. Prove your value
If you fail to prove your value, then a good subject line and unique pitch won’t mean anything to your target audience and the media. The media strives to share original and newsworthy pieces from credible sources. Highlight how your story aligns with the journalist and media outlet’s values by following these three qualities of stories with value:
- Credibility: Your story should be credible and authoritative. The data you include should inform your story and should be from a credible source.
- Newsworthy: State the elements of the story that make it newsworthy. For example, tie it in with a trending topic.
- Relevance: You should point out how your story relates and resonates with the media’s audience. For example, state whether your story will educate, entertain or inspire the audience.
It may seem difficult and time-consuming to research every single media outlet and journalist so as to create a personal connection in your email or pitch. In reality, this is time well spent to ensure your pitch stands out from the rest.
If you do not have all the time to dedicate to this activity you might end up doing the wrong thing because you’re acting too fast. Instead, hire startup-focused and affordable PR experts to help you out since they already have the experience and expertise.
5. Timing is important
When you are reaching out to the media, it is important to pitch to the media one month before. Getting the timing right is crucial if you’re hoping for positive results. Most of us want to promote or market our businesses as soon as possible. However, it is advisable to be realistic and consider promoting your business at the appropriate time. Don’t rush, especially if you don’t have an original and relevant story to tell.
Ensure you take time and work on your story. Examples of relevant stories may include the launch of your business, your first customer experience, or a big sale announcement. Whatever the story is, be patient until you have a story then you can proceed to do your media outreach.
6. Be realistic, but plan big
It is advisable to start small. For example, start promoting your business or content on local outlets, social media, and industry blogs. Understand your boundaries and always be polite. The national media can be quite appealing but the local media is a great place to start.
Before reaching out to the national media, try reaching out to the local newspapers, radio stations, content creators, or bloggers. You’ll be shocked by how many local media publications are desperately looking for stories that are relevant to your community.
The best thing about this is that news and media stories have a way of creating a ripple effect. Once in a while, your story in local media outlets, social media, and industry blogs will be picked up by medium to large media companies.
7. Be selective and persistent
You should put out your stories but you should also take the time to check who is specifically most likely to be interested in your story. You can decide to reach out to them personally. Targeted pitching pays off but it may require more effort and time.
In our experience at Pressfarm, the companies that are willing to persist and be selective with outlets usually get more coverage than those ones that just send email blasts to hundreds of contacts hoping their story will be published somewhere. In fact, email blasts will mostly lead to your emails being sent to the trash or classified as spam by the email provider.
It is important to stay persistent if you’re planning to succeed in promoting your story. There’s always a fine line between harassment and persistence so you should always use your judgment and remain respectful. Follow up on your email pitch once or twice. If you do not get a reply, focus on contacting other journalists.
8. Copyedit your work
Grammatical and spelling errors make you or your pitch look so unprofessional. Always ensure that your content is as error-free as possible. Errors, especially in the subject line, can easily decrease your chances of getting a response from the media. Worse still, these kinds of mistakes can even lower the opening rates of your email. The more mistakes you make, the more responses you will lose. Pay special attention to details such as capitalization, use of contractions (they’re instead of there or your instead of you’re), and use of commas.
Copyedit your pitches before you send them to the media. These days there are programs that will help you in proofreading. For example, you can use Grammarly or the Hemingway App. With these tools at your disposal, you shouldn’t have to make excuses for grammatical or spelling errors.
9. Develop your story
An appropriate pitch will outline a story that is relevant to the target audience. Ensure that the key headlines and message of your story are appropriate for your specific target audience. Beyond that, ensure you communicate the valuable elements of the content and remove the most compelling or emotional elements from the content. The same story can be understood differently by multiple audiences depending on their interests. For this reason, you should make sure the elements and the insights of the story are focused on your target audience.
Since pitches should be short and straight to the point (about 100-300 words), there should be the use of data visualizations and other visual media to link to your pitch which will further support your story with fewer blocks of text. Publishers or the media would like to see content that has more visuals such as photos, graphs, infographics, and videos. These types of content are the highest in demand, while the other generic press releases with heavy texts and white papers tend to fall off to the bottom of the media inboxes.
10. Invest in guest posting
Guest posting can help you not only reach a wider audience but also establish your brand as a thought leader. By partnering with other content creators in your industry to publish blog posts on their sites, you can drive more traffic to your brand website. Ultimately, developing a guest posting strategy can put your content in front of more eyes, as well as help you to build your professional network.
11. Develop a press kit
With a press kit, you can put all the important information a journalist needs to write a story about your brand in a visually-appealing package. A press kit allows you to include as much bonus information as you need. Once you design one, then you can link to it in your pitches and press releases. This way, you can help curious journalists to get all the important information they need without bombarding them with endless paragraphs of information in your email pitches. Ultimately, with a good press kit, you can engage your readers and make a memorable impression with your brand.
Did you know that Pressfarm can equip you with a memorable press kit?
Do you need help creating the perfect press kit? All our packages include a creative press kit from our team of professional designers. This press kit presents your brand personality in an engaging format that is sure to make heads turn. Together with a professional press release and a few compelling guest posts, your press kit can help you build a memorable brand image in the media and among your target audience.
On top of helping you to create a press kit that captures your brand essence, a winning press release, and inspiring guest posts, we also have experience helping brands with their media outreach.
As a client, you have access to our comprehensive media database of over 1 million journalists across industries for up to a year. This way, you can keep sharing your brand story with the public long after we’re done working on your campaign. Similarly, with our custom media lists, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche.
PR professionals and marketers have been said to be spin doctors because of their poor media outreach practices and failure to develop, create and share valuable content that is far beyond selling a product or a service. Luckily, the industry has evolved with more strategic media outreach plans.
Marketing of businesses has shifted to the best strategy of attracting a specific audience rather than reaching out to the masses with generic content. PR has also adapted to targeting the specific best publications or influencers who fit their needs or wants, to promote their content to their target audience.
If you create a great product but nobody knows about it, does it really exist?
Marketing is very important, especially for new businesses. Ensuring that people are aware of your product is important for the success of the business. For this reason, most new businesses use the media to introduce their products or services to the public.
Getting attention from the media can be quite difficult because of the huge competition. Nevertheless, by taking a strategic approach to your media outreach, you’ll be shocked by how fast you will succeed.