One of the questions we get asked on a daily basis by our PR in a Box clients is ‘What is the best way to pitch a story to the media so they want to write about my business?’
There are no hard and fast rules to getting your story picked up, but through our years of experience there are many things we have learned that will help make the process easier.
Firstly, it’s crucial to make sure that what you are talking to the press about is going to make for an interesting article. Try to think like a journalist. Can you see your press release being turned into a bigger story? Too often, companies have something that, to them, is the most exciting thing that has happened, but when it’s put down on paper it just isn’t all that interesting. Try to imagine the headline that will go alongside the article and decide if you would read it. Online publications have become really good at enticing us to click on the next story. If your story wouldn’t make you click on it then it’s probably not worth sending.
2. Write it down
The idea of a traditional press release can sometimes seem a bit old fashioned but it’s a good idea to put your story down in writing to ensure you have all the information a journalist will need to create an article. We suggest a simple layout that provides all of the details and means that journalists will have as easy a job as possible to turn it into a feature. After all, they don’t want to have to be chasing round for details and figures when writing their piece.
• Start with a headline that will grab the reader’s attention
• Next, give a bit more information in a short paragraph
• Then expand on the story, provide all the facts and figures (make sure they are correct)
• Put in a quote, if it’s necessary
• Include contact details for the best person to speak with regarding further and finer details on the story
• Add images (not too high resolution, but have high res available if requested)
• Finally put in any extra information, where to purchase, price, website, T&C’s etc.
When you pitch in a story is as important as what you say. Journalists won’t be looking for stories about Valentines in April. Plan out your year in a spreadsheet so you know when will be the best time to send something out and so that you have stories to run with throughout the year. It’s also worth doing some research to see when different publications run certain features. For instance, fragrance stories very often run near Christmas time. Get in touch with different publications and see if they have their outline for their forward planning / themes so you know if there’s something relevant coming up for your businesses. Visit PRinaBox.com for our marketing template.
When you’re sending your press release, there’s no point creating a list of 200 journalists and just sending to everyone. Research who you think might be interested in the story based on articles they have written and create a personalised email for that person. On PRinaBox.com we have a nifty tool, which, helps find the right contact details for journalists and influencers and also shows you articles they have written recently. Keep your initial email brief, we all hate reading long boring emails and, when you receive 100’s of pitch emails a day, as the press do, they appreciate it when you get to the point
The subject line of your email will be what initially grabs the journalist’s attention so think carefully when deciding what to write here as it could be the difference between them opening it or simply ignoring it.
Once you create a relationship with a journalist, look after them. Here are our top tips:
♣ If they need info, send it as soon as they ask
♣ Don’t pester if they don’t respond straight away
♣ Most importantly, only send them something that you think they will genuinely be interested in, not just because they are on a list of contact details you have.
This way, whenever they see your name in their inbox, they are much more likely to open your email than if you send them every single press release you ever create.
The truth is, there is no magic formula when it comes to getting the press to write about your business but if you follow these guidelines, respect the journalists’ time and persevere, you will find that you’ll generate much more coverage more quickly than ever before.