Strategies For Pitching To The Press
PR is an invaluable tool in your sales and marketing tool kit: it can raise your profile, publicise your key messages and underpin your brand by communicating with the right people, at the right time and in the right way. And if you are selling a product, it can lead to quick sales. You have written a press release, and you are keen to get it out to the press but it’s always good to have a strategy before you start.
First you need to assess what sort of ‘story’ you’ve actually got to tell and that it’s a story that your target media will want to use. Selecting the right angle for the media and directing your pitch at the appropriate journalist is key. Maybe your press release could actually be built up into a bigger feature? If that’s the case, you may want to pitch it to a glossy monthly magazine to see if they are interested in it, but be warned, they may want an exclusive on it and will probably ask if it’s already been used elsewhere. They may not worry about local press coverage, but if it has already been published in comparable publications they may not touch it. So, if you strike lucky and get a ‘glossy’ interested, you may have to put other plans on hold until they print it (this only applies to case-study/feature type pieces, as opposed to products).
Is it a straightforward product announcement which could appear with an image and a few lines (in which case you need to make sure that you have really good images in high and low res formats)? You should consider pitching to magazines that specifically cover your kind of product or relevant blogs (do not underestimate the power of some bloggers!)
Pitch to the most prestigious title first and work your way down. Ideally, your PR campaign will consist of a mix of high-profile printed, monthly publications as well as weekly ones, online titles and blogs.
Before you pick up the phone, think of what you’re going to say – what’s your angle? Journalists are incredibly busy and want pertinent information imparted as quickly as possible. And try and ring the right person – the editor on big glossy probably won’t want to discuss your product and getting to speak to an editorial assistant may be easier and more appropriate.
Make sure that you have everything prepared in advance of your calls - your press release, images and other relevant documents that you are likely to discuss on the phone. If you have a successful call, send an email immediately with your press release and images with a ‘good to speak to you a moment ago’ covering email. Include in the covering email some call to action (which preferably you have discussed in the call). For example, ask them to look at it, and email you. Or maybe you can offer to call them in a few days when they have had a chance to have a read? Or you may want to send them a sample to look at – it’s always a good idea to send it to them in distinctive packaging and maybe a hand written note to make it stand out from the piles of items that are sent to journalists (unsolicited samples are largely a waste of time and money).