Getting the media’s attention doesn’t have to be complicated.
Getting press coverage for your product or service is a highly effective form of advertising. Not only are consumers more likely to trust third-party recommendations, like those of the press, but also, it’s “free” advertising.
However, getting press coverage can seem like trying to hit the middle of the dartboard. Journalists receive piles of PR pitches each week, and it can be difficult to make yours stand out. But even before crafting the perfect pitch, there’s an important step in the process you don’t want to miss: cultivating your media list.
Your list of journalists will make or break the effectiveness of your PR campaign. You want to be pitching to writers who:
- Cover a beat related to your industry
- Either work full-time for a publication or have the connections to get a piece published
- Have a wide readership that will find interest in your product or service
Simply shutting your eyes and pointing to an Internet byline isn’t going to get you very far. Your list should be specific and well targeted. Here are a few tweaks you can make to your media list to ensure better press coverage for your launch or event:
- Pitch to contacts, not media outlets. Pitches to a general e-mail address (like firstname.lastname@example.org) are most likely going to be ignored. Interviewing individual writers raises the chance your pitch will be seen.
- Understand what different roles mean. E-mailing an editor-in-chief (EIC) probably isn’t a winning strategy; EICs spend more time managing than they do writing and depend quite a bit on their writers to bring them pitches. Instead, look for editors of particular sections of a publication.
- Update your list regularly. Journalists tend to job-hop quite a bit; if the last time you checked on your list was a year ago, it’s time for some maintenance.
- If you’re going after bloggers, remember that most prominent bloggers will only spotlight brands as part of a paid campaign. That makes it less a PR move and more an advertising one.
- Use Google Alerts to track who’s writing about your competitors or colleagues within the industry and target those writers. You should also solicit feedback from your clients—what publications do they read regularly?
- Don’t assume that a previous “no” or ignored e-mail means that they’ll never be interested in you again. At the same time, don’t be that PR person who sends multiple e-mails a month—it’s a surefire way to burn a bridge.