Generate Buzz: How to Pitch the Media

by Emily Retherford

4 min read

Getting press coverage is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to generate excitement for your brand. You can use it to introduce a new product, promotions, or the launch of your business. Some tactics to maximize your chance of success include targeting media outlets whose readers are potential customers, building relationships with journalists, creating enticing pitches, and drafting compelling press releases. The potential upside of media coverage is huge relative to the cost, as your brand receives significant exposure. The only other way to get a similar amount of exposure is through an expensive marketing campaign, and people tend to trust an article in a reputable publication over an advertisement. Although there’s little monetary cost in getting press coverage, it takes time and energy to develop a strategy and take consistent action.

Finding the Right Media Outlets

The first step is to pick the right outlet by creating a profile of your customer and finding the media outlets they follow. Your customer profile should include factors such as age, geography, income, and interests. If you’re selling to businesses, your best bet is industry publications or trade journals. If you’re selling to consumers, starting with local media outlets is ideal. These outlets typically have profiles of their readers, viewers, or listeners, which you can draw upon to determine the places you want to target. Next, you have to decide which journalists might be interested in your pitch. Find articles written about other companies in your industry or region, and identify the journalists who are on that beat. Another method is to monitor coverage about your industry. You can do this by creating Google News alerts for terms that are relevant to your industry. In doing this, you may discover which journalists are covering stories relevant to your industry, and these journalists are the best targets for your pitches. However, make sure you build relationships with journalists prior to pitching them, as you need to establish trust.

Becoming a Source

Forming relationships with journalists is a long-term investment that increases both your chances of coverage and the impact it’s likely to have. In addition, these relationships give you deeper knowledge about your industry and competitors. Becoming a valuable source to journalists for information about your industry is one way to build a relationship. You can start by following journalists on Twitter and commenting on their stories or by responding to inquiries for sources about a matter relevant to your business. Following journalists also teaches you about the topics they’re interested in, so you can craft your pitch accordingly. Another option is Help a Reporter Out. HARO is a service that connects journalists and experts in certain topics. You can respond to queries from journalists to begin receiving media exposure. If a journalist picks you as a source for her story, you can ask her if she might be receptive to pitches relevant to her beat. Another benefit to this approach is that it gives you practise in talking to journalists and telling your story. Once you refine your story, it has a greater chance of getting media coverage and is more likely to have an impact on your intended audience.

Pitching Your Story

Remember that journalists are always looking for interesting stories to cover. Once you’ve done the legwork of finding places you want to cover your brand and forming relationships with journalists, the next step is to make a compelling pitch. This pitch must tell the story of your brand while remaining relevant to the journalist’s coverage. A pitch typically includes an introductory email and press release. Personalize the email to each journalist, and include comments that connect your story to their previous work. Your email should be four to six sentences and include the purpose of the press release. You should also include contact information and links to more information about your company. A press release consists of a headline, opening paragraph, body, boilerplate, contact details, and links. The headline needs to be a short announcement that builds interest and encourages further reading. The opening paragraph contains the date and place of the announcement as well as a one-sentence summary. Next, the body of the press release is where you can share important details about your announcement. It should be one to two paragraphs. The boilerplate is a standard, refined statement you can include at the end of every press release. Its purpose is to give basic information about your business, including its values and mission. Finally, your press release should contain contact details and links to relevant sources and statistics. A public relations strategy is key to generating buzz for your brand. Some of the steps in this strategy include finding the right outlets and journalists, forming relationships with them, and pitching them stories. A good pitch email and well-constructed press release boosts your chances of receiving coverage, which builds buzz for your brand.

References & Resources

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