If you are handling the press for your own company, I’ve been there and I would love to share some words of advice. Take it from me, it’s not always easy and you can’t always hire a PR guru to do the work for you. Sometimes you have to dive right in and navigate the do’s and don’ts of pitching the press. There’s lots to cover on this, but here’s a good start…
1.) You Don’t Need Oprah’s Rolodex
Although it would be nice, wouldn’t it? These days it’s easier than ever to find the right contacts you need, so you can start pitching the press. Sometimes it’s the most obvious thing that we overlook. If you want to pitch a magazine, a certain editor, a television show, etc…don’t forget to go to their respective websites! It may just take some digging, but most of the time they list their editors, press contacts and more. Also, look for their media kit. They should have all of the appropriate contacts that you could possibly imagine there. If you’re not sure, send an email and ask who would the correct person to approach. Spend the time to research because it can be well worth it!
2.) Refine Your Pitch
Now that you have zeroed in on the right contact(s), it’s crucial to construct a polished pitch. Here are some key points:
- Eyes like bullet points. Hence, these bullet points. They don’t like to read paragraph after paragraph for three pages long. Get right to the point.
- Introduce yourself upfront and include your website within the first 2 sentences so they can get to your site right away
- Don’t include attachments. If they don’t know what they’re getting, they most likely won’t open it
- Embed a nice picture that shows off your product, you, or your service so they have a visual.
- Be specific in your subject line so they know exactly what you are pitching. Don’t be vague.
Good example: “JackieDeals offers products for Mother’s Day for RedBook Magazine”
Bad example: “JackieDeals is amazing”
- Finally, in your signature include your company, phone number, email, Facebook link, any way they can find you.
3.) Pitch It and Forget It
Once you hit that send button, almost try to forget about it. Remember, the press gets inundated with pitches every day. Think about if you got thousands of emails a week, would you have time to read and respond to each one? My suggestion is always wait about 3-4 weeks before you follow up. However, don’t just follow up with “hey, you never got back to me.” That will almost never work. Try following up with a different angle or viewpoint. Maybe now you want to share some tips that would fit in nicely for their readers. Maybe you want to submit a new product that you just launched? Fresh content is king and the press is always looking for it ☺
4.) It’s Always Good To Engage
If you have your eye on a certain editor…follow, like, comment, and read as much as you can by that editor. Take interest in what they write about and feel free to engage. The more interest you have in them, the more top of mind you will be. When the story is right, they will reach out to you.
5.) Don’t Fear It
I’ve done it in the past. I’ve feared pitching some major players in the press. I’ve hesitated and procrastinated and you know where it got me? Nowhere! If you don’t let people in on what you’re doing, no one will ever know. Share the amazingness! The worst someone can say is “NO”. If you get a “no thank you” then you know you have reached their inbox, they opened your email, and responded to you. YAY! That’s reason to celebrate. Move on, and pitch pitch pitch!