A good media outreach strategy is the foundation of any successful outreach campaign. If you take time to build a strategy first, then you’re more likely to meet all your goals. So, how do you develop this strategy from scratch?
Before we walk you through this process, let’s start by talking about what media outreach is.
What is media outreach?
Many people assume media outreach and media relations are the same thing. While they complement each other, media outreach is focused on specific goals. On the other hand, media relations is a continuous long-term effort.
Media outreach vs. media relations
Media outreach is sharing your brand story with media contacts who have relevant and desirable audiences. The ultimate goal is to inspire these people to believe in your story. That way, they’ll have the confidence to share this story with their audiences.
Media relations is building lasting relationships with these media contacts. Ideally, you build trust before your media outreach. Making friends with these people means they will be more invested in your success later on.
As you can see, when you’re developing a media outreach strategy from scratch, you must lay the groundwork through media relations.
Why do you need a strategy?
A media outreach strategy helps you plan for the future and control your story. Without this planning, you risk losing control of your story. If this happens, then media exposure could actually harm your reputation.
Anyone doing media outreach hopes to improve their reputation rather than harm it. So, for the sake of your brand image, take the time to plan in advance.
“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson
So, how do you develop a media outreach strategy from scratch?
1. Craft an inspiring story
The first step in a media outreach strategy is deciding what story you want to tell. Are you launching a new product? Has the leadership in your company changed? More importantly, will people want to hear about this?
Answering that last question will help you decide if your story is truly worth telling. If you have a newsworthy story, you’re well on your way to being noticed by a journalist.
2. Choose the right storyteller
A big part of a good media outreach strategy is a talented person to tell your story. Where do you get such a person? Many entrepreneurs opt to do their own public relations in order to save money. However, there are good reasons to hire an expert to tell your brand story.
A public relations professional is trained to tell good stories. They know how to connect with the media and can also write for different audiences. Moreover, they are likely to have connections to the media.
3. Decide who needs to hear your story
So, now you have an inspiring story and an engaging storyteller. Now we need to decide who needs to hear your story. Your target audience will determine how and where you tell your story, so this step is a crucial part of your media outreach strategy.
4. Choose the right media influencer
Once you decide who you want to reach, you can decide who to ask for help. The right person can help give you a stage in front of the audience you’re looking for.
So, who counts as a media influencer?
In traditional terms, this would be a journalist or a broadcaster. However, the term “media influencer” has expanded to include bloggers and vloggers. To sum it up, a media influencer is:
- An expert in their field
- A trusted authority
Companies partner with media influencers because their audiences trust them. People take recommendations seriously if they come from someone they trust. According to a 2020 survey, 74% of consumers claim word of mouth influenced their purchasing decisions.
As you can see, partnering with the right people can make or break your media outreach strategy.
How to choose the right media influencer
The right fit is crucial here. To ensure you choose the right media influencer for your story, you need to focus on 3 factors.
- Reach. Does this person have an audience?
- Relevance. Do they have access to the audience you are trying to reach?
- Resonance. Do the stories they share have an impact? Does their audience engage with their content? Or does everything they say seem to land on deaf ears?
Once you have chosen the people you will partner with, you can move on to the next step.
5. Build a media list
Why should you worry about a media list? A media list will help you sharpen your media outreach strategy further. To build a useful media list, you need to follow these steps:
- Define your content. You need to know what your story is. You also need to know which category each media contact fits under. This will help you tailor your story better for each person you reach out to.
- Develop story angles. Yes, you already have a story. However, different versions will resonate with different people. Develop unique angles for the people on your list, based on what they like to talk about. You might want to highlight different aspects of your story, depending on who you’re talking to.
iii. Decide on timing. The timing of your story may vary depending on the person or outlet you’re pitching it to. For example, TV broadcasters have a turnaround time of a few hours to a day. In contrast, a magazine starts working on stories about a month in advance.
- Search by both publication and writer. To widen your scope, look for publications or outlets in your industry first. Then you can look for specific people to pitch within those outlets.
6. Know your influencer
Once you have built your media list, it’s time to get to know everyone on that list. Take time to really connect with each contact. It’s not enough just to know who your contacts are and what they write about.
How do you get to know these people? You get to know these people by building relationships with them. You should also know what their lives are like and what they care about. Read their stories and comment on them. Follow them on social media and learn what their hobbies are. All of this will help you connect with them when it’s time to pitch your story.
7. Start small
With a media outreach strategy, it’s wise to start small and then scale your efforts over time. You start small by building relationships with your media contacts beforehand. Offer expert input in a story someone is working on. Write contributed articles or opinion pieces for an outlet.
To summarize, you need to offer to help before asking for help. Soon it’ll be time to pitch your story. Media contacts will be happy to support you if they know you supported them when they needed it.
8. Pitch your story
We’ve arrived at the most exciting part of your media outreach strategy. You have a compelling story. What’s more, you’ve made friends with some engaging storytellers.
When it’s finally time to pitch your story you need to focus on writing a pitch people will read. How do you do this?
i. Send email pitches.
Most journalists communicate primarily through email. Sending a pitch through email rather than social media will also reflect well on you. This is because it shows that you made an extra effort to find this person’s email address.
ii. Use a catchy subject line to reel readers in.
You want to make sure the person you’re sending your pitch to will actually open it.
iii. Perform targeted pitching.
Send personalized pitches to the contacts in your list instead of sending mass emails. Greet each person by name. It also doesn’t hurt to mention a recent story they wrote. Alternatively, you can talk about a recent conversation you had with them.
iv. Keep your pitch to 100-200 words at most.
People don’t like reading paragraphs and paragraphs of information. Mention at least 3 key messages in your pitch. Don’t forget to highlight the newsworthy content. Moreover, use visuals to complement the text and make your pitch stand out.
v. Bring up emotional insights.
People a drawn to a story which they can connect with emotionally.
vi. Follow up.
If you don’t hear back, then sending one or two follow-up emails is a good idea. In case a media contact rejects your pitch, be professional and thank them for their time. In addition, find out how you can tailor your content to better fit their needs in the future.
Developing a media outreach strategy sounds daunting at first. Don’t let it scare you. With this guide, you should be well on your way to building an effective one from scratch.
Do you need more hands-on help with your media outreach? Check out our packages and contact us to develop a strategy for you.