When it comes to developing a successful marketing plan for your business, you need to factor in public relations outreach. This can be done internally or with the aid of an external agency like Moxee Marketing. Either way, Journalists are desperate for newsworthy stories and they want to do as little of the work as possible! If you can provide journalists with a news story or angle that their readers or viewers want to hear about, it is far more likely they will take your story on.
Bear these 5 tips in mind when pitching direct to journalists:
1. Do engage journalists but bear in mind why you are engaging with them
2. Always think of the human aspect in the story
3. Don’t pitch to every journalist, be selective
4. Don’t continually harass or remind
5. However, do be forceful and memorable
If you are trying to get a journalist to take up your story, it can be of great value and benefit to engage with them. If they are on Twitter, you can strike up a relationship there first. At first, be casual before contacting them. You should also try to find out something about them as it may be that you have a shared interest with them. This can always provide you with a reason to speak to them and it can help to keep the conversation flowing if things dry up a little. However, even when you are engaging with a journalist, remember the reason you are engaging with them, to get your business story across.
It would be brilliant if you could get some high quality pr for your business no matter what you are doing. This is why businesses have to advertise. News stories need to be about what they offer the end user or viewer of the story. This is why there must always be a news angle to the story you are pitching. If you have a new product, how will it benefit the audience of the newspaper or TV show? If you are hosting an event, why should the news audience be excited or get ready to come over? Too many people may not care that you are hosting a party to launch a new event but if there is a chance to meet a local celebrity or to win a grand prize, the human angle for the viewer starts to become apparent.
Find the journalists who are relevant to your story
You may be of the opinion that the more journalists covering your story or who are involved with the story is good, but this is not the case. Engaging with journalists can be time consuming so you only want to speak to relevant journalists. If you are a local clothing store, there is no point speaking to journalists that focus on sports, cooking or foreign affairs. You need to uncover the journalists that cover local news or have an interest in fashion. Being smart and finding journalists that are relevant to your business will make life easier for you. It is also important to not use a journalist to reach another journalist. The vast majority of journalists will not appreciate this, and they may cut you off completely. By all means ask around but if a journalist thinks that you are using them for your own means without being able to provide them with a story, they will cut contact very quickly.
While you may be tempted to remind a journalist every day about your story, this is not going to bring about any success. In fact, it may annoy or anger a journalist, reducing the likelihood of your story running. It is important to be forceful and to give journalists everything they require. However, if they decide not to run with the story, there is not a lot that can be done. One reminder after a week or so is not a bad tactic, you can get back in touch, perhaps with an update or new twist to the story but continually harassing a journalist will see your business develop a bad reputation.
Ursula Petula Barzey is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Moxee Marketing, a London based digital marketing agency.