Archives For author

By Lara Lackie, Account Director at Eskenzi PR

Lara2

One of our main goals as a PR professional is to secure press coverage for our clients, but reporters are busier than ever before thanks to the never-ending news cycle.

Since the dawning of the social media age, consumers expect news in real-time, which means journalists are inundated with emails, press releases and phone calls all day, every day. With so many people vying for their attention, you need to build strong relationships with the media and make sure your pitches are on point, as well as crafting attention-grabbing email headers to make them want to even open your email in the first place!

I’ve lost count of how many pitches I’ve sent to reporters over the years, but you learn pretty darn quickly that blanket emails or non-relevant pitches won’t get you anywhere. Here are a few tips and tricks for pitching media, which will not only help secure meaningful coverage for your clients but will also help cement a great working relationship with reporters.

Research is Key

research

Before even thinking about drafting your pitch, it’s worth refining a media list and working out which reporters will be interested in your story. A good way to do this is by conducting some desk research using a tool such as Meltwater. You can run an influencer search using keywords, which will help you discover reporters who have written on a specific topic. You can then tailor your pitch exclusively for them.

Keep in mind the type of media outlet you’re contacting. National newspaper journalists are often up against very hard deadlines, so think carefully about how and when to reach out to them.

Speaking to a reporter on the phone gives you more leverage to be persuasive and sell in your story. However, it seems to be that more and more journalists don’t want to be called by PR folks, so find out how the reporters you’re pitching like to be contacted. Resources such as Cision will flag whether a journalist prefers emailed pitches vs. being called on the phone. Some even specify contacting them on Twitter, so you then need to contend with condensing your pitch into 240 characters or less!

Make it Personal

Dont-take-it-personal

Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to media pitching and sending out a mass email is a big no-no. Spend time developing different angles for different reporters.

Once you’ve determined the angle for each outlet or journalist, it’s time to put the research you compiled to work to further personalise your pitch. Let them know why you’re reaching out to them specifically. This is a great time to reference works they’ve published that led you to believe they’d be interested in your story. You’ve committed time to do research — make that clear to them.

Make it Easy for Them

makeiteasy

As previously mentioned, journalists are very busy, so you need to make sure that your story is an easy win for them. This comes back to doing your research beforehand. If you’ve narrowed down your pitching pool, consider offering your story as an exclusive to the outlet that would be the most interested in your news.

Cultivate and Maintain Your Relationships

cultivation-buidling-relationships-with-donors

Contacting the journalists and influencers you already know well (and that already like you) is much easier than going in cold, which is why it’s so important you get to know the reporters that make sense for your clients. If you only reach out when you want coverage, that will be obvious, and they’ll probably start to ignore you.

Remember to not hassle them! Send your pitch once and, if you think your story is strong, try them again. If they haven’t responded after two rounds of communication, they’re likely not interested and pinging them a third time is a no-no.

Feed these relationships by staying in contact, and when you do receive coverage, always post them across your social media channels, mentioning the reporter in your post.

Do the journalists you’re trying to reach take time out of the office for meetings with CEOs or other spokespeople? Possibly not. But it’s important to know and cultivate those that do.

As a PR person, you can offer to take journalists out for coffee or lunch – this will give you a great opportunity to quiz them about what they’re working on over the next few months.

A well-crafted pitch requires hard work on your end, but the resulting coverage you secure will speak volumes. By doing your homework, being thorough and taking a personalised approach, the media will appreciate your efforts.

Even if your pitches don’t always land, you’ll develop stronger media relationships that will help you secure quality media placements down the road.

Advertisements

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. With 288 million active users on Twitter, and over 1 billion on Facebook, it’s hardly surprising that both social networks carry such strong power to influence the nation. I’ve picked a few examples of how social media can play a major part in influencing businesses, sway the public and even help the Police.

TWITTER vs. MORRISONS

This week I read a story in several of the National newspapers about supermarket chain, Morrisons, changing their dress code regulations after its suspension of a shop worker for wearing a poppy and Help for Heroes badge sparked an angry backlash online.

The shop worker in question posted the letter from his bosses, asking him to attend a disciplinary hearing, on Twitter. The post and image received almost 1,000 re-tweets

Untitled

 

The letter was also posted on the Morrison’s Facebook page and, as a result, boss Dalton Philips received almost 300 angry responses directly.

FACEBOOK vs. X FACTOR

An older example of the power of social media was seen back in 2009 when rock band, Rage Against the Machine, won the most competitive battle in years for the UK Christmas number one. It was seen by many as possibly the greatest chart upset ever as rock fans campaigned on Facebook to get fans to buy as many digital copies of the single ‘Killing in the Name’ as possible.

The result was Rage Against the Machine selling half a million downloads, which crushed X Factor winner, Joe McElderry’s ‘The Climb’ by 50,000 copies. This Facebook campaign had 1.2 million supporters.

FACEBOOK & MYSPACE vs. CADBURY

In 2008, confectionary giant, Cadbury, brought back the Wispa chocolate bar after a campaign on Facebook and MySpace demanded its return. After thousands of people joined dedicated groups on both social media sites, Cadbury said that, in the first 18 weeks of the chocolate bar being back on the shelves, they sold 41 million Wispa bars.

SOCIAL MEDIA vs. THE LONDON RIOTS

The London riots in 2011 were sparked by the Police shooting of Mark Duggan. Social media, predominantly Twitter, played a huge role in keeping the public informed of what was going on in their area. Most of the social media traffic began after the first verified reports of incidents in a specific area, with more than 2.5 million tweets being sent.

In some areas, namely Tottenham, Police claimed that BlackBerry’s popular, free and encrypted messaging service, BBM, actually helped to fuel the riots and even helped to organise the extensive looting that went on. BlackBerry agreed to assist the Police wherever possible which, in itself, sparked fears from some BlackBerry users that their private messages may be handed over to the authorities.

London’s Metropolitan Police also created a page on photo social media site, Flickr, which included CCTV images of rioters suspected of looting and committing violence or other crimes. They also set up a Twitter hashtag #tweetalooter which asked citizens for any information they may have had of known looters or usernames of other Twitter users who could have possibly been stupid enough to admit to stealing goods during the riots. Both of these social media tactics were very successful in making arrests relating to the riots.

Following the events, a Twitter account called @riotcleanup was set up, which attracted more than 62,000 followers in just a few hours. Alongside this a Facebook page was also set up in support of the Police, which gained over half a million likes.

Despite these incredible examples of just how influential social media can be, some organisations are still unconvinced of the benefits. So, how can social media help a business, regardless of the industry you may be in?

  • It’s an instant, interactive and responsive way to start and maintain conversations and relationships with both existing and potential customers.
  • It isn’t like print media, radio or direct marketing. It allows a two way conversation which companies like to have with their clients.
  •  It allows you to listen to, and monitor, what members of the public are saying about you, your competitors, your clients and things that may be relevant to your industry.
  • It can help drive traffic to your company website – most search engines and media monitoring tools now include social media updates and posts within their results. If you’re involved, it means there’s more chance of your organisation being found on the web.

And remember!