The media is always looking for news to report while marketers need exposure of 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. It is a continuous challenge when you are building a business. However, it is one you must learn 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 creation of content. 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, 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 mostly consume their news, go for insights, advice and entertainment. Once you know where your audience spends its time, you are able to 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 mostly uses, before researching about 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?
- Do they promote their content widely?
- Do their posts receive a lot of engagement?
- Do they cover only specific types of content?
- Do their values align with that 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 these outlets 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 trying to find journalists contacts from one publication to another: That is why you have a tool like Pressfarm which helps you find all this information in one platform. Our tool has over 50k journalists spanning across Canada, USA, UK, and Australia. It will save you a lot of time searching. Additionally, in our launch and campaign packages we can make for you 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 especially on the pre-header and the subject line. If you put more effort on your pre-header and subject lines, there is chance your emails’ 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 which are the sender and the subject line.
The subject line is the deciding factor when it comes to whether your email will be opened. Considering the media receives hundreds of pitches per week, it is important to make your subject line attractive.
Additionally, 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 be 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.
Ensure 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 included to inform your story should be from a credible
- Newsworthy: State the elements of the story that make it newsworthy for example a trending topic.
- Relevance: You should point out how your story relates and resonates to the media’s audience. For example, state whether your story will educate, entertain or inspire the
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, but it’s time well used 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 of 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. Time is a very essential approach. Most of us want to promote or market our businesses as soon as possible but 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 launching 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. Many times 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. Such approaches pay off but they 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 as compared to those ones that just send email blasts to hundreds of contacts hoping their story is 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. Proofread your work
Grammatical and spelling errors make you or your pitch look so unprofessional. Always ensure that your content is as good as possible. Errors, especially in the subject line, can easily decrease your rate of getting a response from the media or even lower the opening rates of your email. The more mistakes, 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.
Proofread your pitches before you send them to the media. There are programs that will help you in proofreading for example Grammarly or Hemingway App. You shouldn’t have 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 is appropriate for your specific target audience. 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, so, ensure 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 less blocks of text. Publishers or the media would like to see content that has more visual content such as photos, graphs and videos. Such 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.
Unfortunately, it’s never really that simple. PR professionals and marketers have been said to be spin doctors because of their poor media outreach practices and failing to develop, create and share valuable content that is far beyond selling a product or a service. Luckily, the industry has evolved with a 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. 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 a great product is created but nobody knows about it, does it really exist?
Marketing is very important especially for new businesses. Ensuring people are aware about your product is important for success of the business. Most new businesses use the media attention to introduce their products or their services to the public.
Getting attention from the media can be quite difficult because of the huge competition. But by taking an appropriate approach to your media outreach, you’ll be shocked by how fast you will be successful.
Feature image courtesy of Unsplash