For some, the past two years dramatically altered the public relations and digital marketing landscape, making earned media more challenging to secure. This is obviously situational, but if you work in PR, you most likely put on your creative hat when it comes to pitching during a pandemic. Methods of securing coverage continue to evolve. In addition to having established relationships with media and influencers, knowing how to pitch intelligently, and being authentic, the following tips will help you secure some big WINS for clients in the future.
Many reporters and editors have jumped on the Substack bandwagon where they call for pitches through an email subscription. You simply subscribe to their newsletter and when they’re in need of pitches or a source, an email shows up in your inbox. It’s not only genius, but also a great way to get to know them as a person because they usually offer up some personal details in the body of their email. Journalists usually indicate whether they have a subscription email service in their email signature, so checking there is a great place to start.
Use Industry Lingo
As a former TV reporter and producer, I believe a solid pitch to a station is one that breaks everything down. Is your story a quick VO/SOT? A kicker? Prerecorded? A live morning segment? A talkback with the evening anchors with a full screen graphic? Really understanding the show you’re pitching and the segment that will best serve your story is key to securing media. Lay it all out for the reporter or producer to give them a clear visual of what the story will look like. If you’re not familiar with news lingo, hit Google or ask a trusted friend who works at a station to give you a quick lesson.
This isn’t new, but it’s more important than ever. When it comes to pitches, gone are the days of spraying and praying. Personalized marketing has spilled over into the PR world and there needs to be a greater emphasis on this trend when sending ideas to reporters and producers. Tailoring messages shows that you’re speaking directly to their interests. Don’t be afraid to mention that you’ve read their work or particularly enjoyed a recent segment, and always follow-up. One size doesn’t fit all in the world of pitching and original ideas create trust and credibility.
Talk the Tok
Micro-influencers are creators with between 10k to 75k followers. The reason it’s a good idea for small businesses to partner with this tier of influencer comes down to a few factors; engagement rate, collaborative partnerships, and click-thru capabilities. Micro-influencers tend to be a perfect fit for brands of every kind and size because they have enough experience to create high-quality, professional content, yet they’re still in a stage of growth that allows for maintaining a highly engaged community. When story ideas are running low or you’ve hit a lull in coverage, suggest a creative partnership with a local micro-influencer to keep momentum going.
I have, no joke, connected with more than 500 journalists across the nation on LinkedIn over the last year. Getting your credentials and resume in front of someone you’re pitching will undoubtedly help get responses from reporters at some of the most notable outlets. They can put a face to your name and see you as a person, rather than a random email. Connecting via LinkedIn has led me to have conversations and/or secure coverage with reporters at Adweek, Forbes, Well+Good, Business Insider, Fast Company, and The New York Times.