Hey you! Yes, you – marketing, PR and small business people bombarding every journalist you find on the internet with an irrelevant email or a media release long enough to write the damn article yourself!
It’s time to look at the facts. Journalists aren’t responding. Or are - angrily. They’re bombarded by your emails. You’ve spelt their name wrong. And they don’t work where you say they do because you don’t know how that happened?!?
Is your business newsworthy? Probably – there’s an angle EVERYWHERE. You just couldn’t articulate it.
As the Director of Sydney PR, we’ve had our clients (both big and small) across every publication that exists. We haven’t always gotten it right, no one’s perfect, but we sure as hell do know how to find opportunity and OWN them for our clients.
Here are a few tips we learnt along 3 years of trial and error.
1) Give the people what they want
Knowing people is an art. It’s a skill developed over years of talking, schmoozing, LISTENING and being around all sorts of personalities. Nonetheless – it’s an art. Business relationship building is about genuinely understanding the other person’s NEEDS and WANTS and fulfilling them.
In the case of respected journalists, prove your worth. They want a good, truthful, never-written-about-before, newsworthy story. So do just that. Be honest. WHO is your client? WHAT do they do? Suggest a story… BUT also ask them what they think so they have the opportunity to suggest their own angle.
It takes two to tango baby, and they’re not going to just take your story and publish it on the first page of The Daily Telegraph because you told them it was EXCLUSIVE. Another note. Please erase the word “EXCLUSIVE” from your vocabulary.
2) Less is more
We know, we know. You went to university. They taught you to write a lengthy media release… “Give them ALL the information” they said.
Yes, but also, no.
Send a few simple sentences and be straight to the point.
1) Begin by knowing about the actual journalist. WHO ARE THEY? What they write about? READ some of their stories and perhaps reference one.
2) WHAT you’re offering them? Be precise. Be clear. Do you know of the next Nutella craze? Can you offer them statistics on a particular topic?
3) WHY this will benefit their readers. Because it’s not about you.
This is enough information. If the journalist is interested – they’ll ask you to: A) answer a few questions B) ask you to connect them with a spokesperson via interview or phone C) ask for a media release and high res photography.
Showcase why their story will drive traffic. Why it will resonate with their existing or a new audience.
3) Choose your words wisely
Adding to the, don’t use the word exclusive if it’s not really an exclusive point…
“Can you help us get the word out?” (unless you want the response to be NO)
“REVOLUTIONARY” “WORLD CLASS” and anything that’s “GROUND BREAKING”
Long point short, not only will they call BS on what you’re saying (because you’re emailing actual human beings here) they’ll simply skim past your email as they’ve read those same words over and over and over again in BAD pitches.
4) Avoid emailing the same pitch to journalists from the same media company
This one’s a hard habit to crack, and it’s happened to us when we’re desperately trying to secure a good story for a well deserving client. However journalists do talk, and it doesn’t increase your odds. They discuss the pitches they receive and what stories they’re working on.
If you have a story that MAY apply to 1-2 journalists within that company, include and address them BOTH in the same email chain and explain why they’re both in there.
5) Remove formatting if you have copy pasted anything
This one is my absolute pet peeve and I don’t receive the pitches! Our PR Coordinator’s at SPR know that as soon as I see a purple COPY/PASTE job to anyone for that matter – I’m the first to gun them down!
A few more tips:
1) Why not follow the journalist on Twitter or Instagram before pitching to them so they’ve seen your name before they receive your email, and recognise who you are!
2) Spend your time more wisely, research, as opposed to BULK emailing.
3) Spend time on your subject line – what’s the point?
4) Contrary to popular belief, avoid sending attachments in your first email. Likely it’ll be spammed or blend in with the crowd.
All in all, I hope these few pointers help in generating a better understanding of the PR world and how to generate media attention for your clients or yourself… and if not… then the PHLANX.com team generated some great SEO from this article ;)