November 20 2014

Why you’re pitching all wrong


Tailor your story to the right audience

One of the most important elements in your overall media strategy is getting your company news and information to the right people at the right media outlets. By targeting reporters and bloggers that cover niche markets, you increase your chances of getting media coverage. Targeted distribution to specific media and industry segments can yield significantly better results.

Considering that thousands of press releases are sent every day, it’s in your best interest to make sure yours lands in the right hands and inevitably gets as many “eyeballs” as it deserves.

Targeted media distribution has become a buzzword in the press release distribution business. Organizations that send their news releases to specific media outlets, reporters, editors and online and offline publications are being strategic and they are making the best use of the resources that are relevant to their business niche.

Your Email Open Rate

Mindlessly distributing your news releases using what’s called the “spray and pray” approach is a set up for failure and disappointment. Not only that, it’s lazy. You’re basically telling reporters that you haven’t done your homework. Instead, take time to research what they write about, what they’ve done in the past or what interests them and their audience.

If you’re sending your pitch or press release by email – the preferred method for most journalists – don’t measure your success solely on your open rate. Making sure someone opens your email is one thing, but giving the recipient useful information is much better – and they will respect you for it.

It’s no good sending a tech story to a fashion magazine – or is it?

If you’re a startup or a small business owner, you’re already working with a limited budget. Buying a media list and blasting out a generic message is not only a mistake – it’s a waste of time and money.

As with the example above, reporters get a lot of unwanted pitches, so make sure you understand the needs of the individual journalist, the publication they work for and the audience they serve. Aside from the major media outlets, there are literally thousands of specialty media outlets and publications. Each one has its own focus, and each has a different ideas about what is considered news.

And should you send a tech story to a fashion magazine? If the tech piece has to do with how clothes are made, there may just be some crossover.

Not Ready For Primetime

While this may come as a shock, you may not be ready for the big leagues yet. The story you want to share may only be suitable for some media outlets. So while a story about your organization may not make a splash in the major media outlets, it could well be a top story in publications dealing specifically in your industry.

Some people might say, ‘I really want to be on Good Morning America, but the story might not be suited to TV – for instance, it isn’t a visual story. But that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for radio or for another medium.

There is a lot of competition out there and the chances of getting picked up in a major news outlet like the New York Times on your first try, are pretty low. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with starting small and taking aim at niche media. There are a lot of blogs, industry publications and local outlets that actually care about you right now.

You shouldn’t be discouraged if reporters say no. Even if you have a good story to tell, like any good relationship, it takes time to build and nurture it.  A “no” sometimes means “not right now.”

Once you do get a few mentions, you are well on your way to developing media relationships and eventually working your way up to bigger exposure.