Media coverage is one of the easiest ways to spread newsworthy information about your organization and one of the fastest ways to grow your brand. Whether you’re looking toward mainstream or beat coverage, effective pitching is a skill worth developing. Make sure to avoid these situations if you’d like free media coverage:
1. “Dear Sir/Ma’am.”
Generic openings aren’t engaging or personal. Take the time to find out the name of the journalist covering a particular beat.
2. “I’d like some publicity for my new product.”
Journalists want stories that engage and entertain their readers. Instead of asking them, explain how covering your story would benefit them and the publication as a whole. Likewise, journalists aren’t publicists, so make sure your pitch is newsworthy.
3. “What section is this story most appropriate for?”
Before sending your pitch, make sure you’re familiar with a particular journalist’s beat and the overall theme of the publication. Asking about the appropriate section shows the journalist that you haven’t done your homework. Make sure you tailor your pitch to the appropriate section.
4. “Are you interested in running this story?”
Confidence is an important part of pitching the media. If you ask them to cover your story instead of explain why they should, you’re less likely to get desired results. Journalists are also on tight deadline, which means they probably don’t have time to respond to you.
This one is obvious, and yet so many organizations send in releases with misspellings, grammar errors or AP style issues. Journalists have keen eyes for these types of mistakes, so make sure you don’t lose their respect by making them. Always proofread your information before sending.
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