How to Pitch the Media and Secure Press
Today's blog post is all about how to pitch the media in a way that you can secure a solid story or TV segment for your business. For small businesses, it's important to stay top-of-mind with your current consumers and to grow awareness to build your brand. And press is a great way to do that!
For my KES clients, I am constantly pitching and securing stories and segments for the brands that I work with. These stories and segments are crucial to help grow their online following, increase social media engagement and oftentimes result in immediate sales. It's a win-win. While I love providing this service to my clients and already have strong connections to the media (making it easier for me to garner press), I do have a process that any small business can walk through to successfully pitch the media. I have a solid track record of getting results from this process.
Here is my process...
1. Find your focus - Your business may offer several services and multiple products, but it will be too confusing and challenging (and unorganized) to the media if you are are not focused. Remember, you have just a few seconds to grab someones attention! Choose your (1 to 2) key seasonal (or new) product or service that makes sense for the time of year and just focus on that.
2. Make your list - Once you have an idea of what your are pitching, it's time to make your target media list for this pitch. This does not need to be a long, extensive list. Instead think about the key outlets that you think align with your business the most and would be interested in covering your featured service or product. For me, I sometimes am pitching story/segment ideas to 5 or less outlets because these are the ones that are a true fit for the brand. Not sure how to find media contacts?
Do your research.
If you are pitching locally or regionally, pick up magazines or newspapers at your local coffee shop and read the different sections. See who wrote the stories and what was highlighted in the articles. Oftentimes, traditional print and online media include email addresses in the story byline. Look at the very top or bottom of the article. If you are pitching to TV, make sure that you have actually watched the show previously. Know the anchor/host/reporter names and personalities. Search the station's website for the producer or specific media contact information.
3. Perfect your pitch - Now that you have determined your key service or product to focus on, it's time to draft your pitch. This is the most important part of the process for securing press. Pay attention to every word and detail you include! Don't make this a daunting assignment. Have fun with it and get straight to the point. To start, I recommend brainstorming what it is about the key service or product you are focusing on that make it unique. What is the product/service? Why would someone like it? Is there a newsworthy angle that ties in with the product/service? How does it relate to the winter or holiday season? List out your ideas, words and details.
4. Draft your pitch - Once you have your area of focus, completed your pitch brainstorm and built your target media list, writing the pitch itself is quite simple. The media are interested in receiving quick, informative and engaging pitches typically via email or social media platforms (like LinkedIn or Twitter). Email is the best way to go (and the method I am recommending in these steps) unless you have a prior relationship to the media outlets you plan to connect with.
A few tips to ensure success in securing a story with your pitch:
- Make it personal and address the media by first name.
- Include a link to download additional images or infographics and press materials, if needed.
- Clearly define how you would like to feature your product/service for the story you are pitching.
5. Send. Follow-up. Secure. - It's time to hit send.
Give your email and press materials one last glance over to see if you missed any spelling or grammatical errors and that all links point to the right direction. Once your pitch is off, it's time to wait. If your pitch is interesting, engaging and timely, the media will respond quickly (within a day or so). If you haven't heard back in several days (5 t 7), you may want to send a brief follow-up to make sure the information was received and if it was of interest. Make your follow-up very short. You don't want to pester the media, as that is a sure fire way to end that relationship before it has even begun! Be patient and understanding.
There you go! These are the key steps that I walk through each time that I pitch the media for my clients.
*Don't have time to follow this process for your business? KES offers monthly PR services for small businesses within the lifestyle category. Contact us to set-up a coffee consultation!