I remember the day I got the call: Good Morning America wanted to feature my monogrammed products. It was one of those surreal moments when you almost have an out-of-body experience and realize that everything is about to change.
But it didn’t come about all at once. We really had to work our way up the PR ladder so to speak. I actually started out by putting together a formal “press kit” and sending it out to a bunch of magazine editors — but I got ZERO responses.
After that, I decided to reach out to a handful of bloggers that I knew and encourage them to feature giveaways of my products. They were responsive, and as a result, tons of magazine and tv producers reached out to me about my products because they had spotted them on blogs. A very welcome surprise!
PR and press mentions can be a fast way to grow your company’s visibility and generate more potential customers and sales. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to engage a PR company to take advantage of the press. You can pitch yourself and your business to the press.
What PR professionals know that you don’t is how to follow the rules journalists like to follow, and how to make a pitch so engaging and enticing that the writer truly wants to cover it.
One of the most important things you can know about journalists and other media professionals is that they are busy. From bloggers to national magazines and TV stations, they get dozens if not hundreds of press releases and PR pitches every day. Because of that, they get very good at being able to tell with just a glance whether your pitch is going to meet their needs and qualifications or not!
So if you want to stay out of the email trash bin and get the attention of local and national media, you have to know how to play the game.
I’ve rounded up the top 4 keys you must know before you try to pitch yourself or your company to the media, and I’m also offering you a sneak peek at one of the bonuses inside the upcoming Perfect Pitch Destination Guide inside Business Class: our PR Pitch Script — it includes an exact, word-for-word script you can use to pitch yourself to media, as well as an example script to practice how the conversation might go. Click to download it now, then use the following tips to perfect it!
1. Research the publication
When you first decide to go after press mentions and PR, you’ll probably make a long list of places that you’d love to be featured. Some of them will be magazines, websites, and TV shows that you love and know a lot about. Others may be just the results of a Google search that look like they might be promising.
It’s your job to figure out how your pitch fits with the publication or media outlet where you want to be featured — not the journalist’s job.
It’s important to understand the publication or outlet you’re pitching to and know all of the reasons why their audience would benefit from your business / services. Do they have regular columns or features that you would be a good fit for? Have they covered similar businesses or topics in the past?
If it’s not blindingly obvious how your pitch fits into their brand and message, you have to be the one to connect those dots for the journalist who receives your call or email.
2. Research the people
In this Internet age, “Dear Sir or Madam” is unacceptable. You must know exactly who you’re pitching to — whether that’s an editor, producer, writer, intern, or other — and address your pitch to them specifically.
Go beyond just the salutation line, too. Read or watch recent work and reference that in your communication by saying “I enjoyed reading (or watching) your recent piece on ________”. This helps build rapport. Follow them on Twitter and see what topics they like to talk about. You can find out a lot about a person with just a few minutes of research.
Now that you know the person you’re pitching to, you can also tailor your pitch directly to them by saying things like, “I know you’re interested in writing about ___________, and I have a fresh angle on that for you.”
This kind of research can also help you find the right person at a particular publication or media outlet to pitch to. It’s not a great strategy to pitch a business article to the sports editor, so you want to find the person who can take action on your pitch.
3. Skip the press release
Press releases are designed to disseminate information to a large amount of people. A PR company will usually write a single press release and then mass email it to dozens of reporters — maybe with a personalized email attached.
Frankly, press releases are pretty old school and don’t get the kind of response most of us want, so they aren’t a very good bang for your time buck.
When making a PR pitch, pick up the phone and call!! Don’t hide behind email, a press release, or a cover letter. If you want press for your hard work, use the good old fashioned telephone and call your press prospects.
(If that makes you nervous, don’t worry: That’s why I put together our PR Pitch Script for you as part of the new Perfect Pitch Destination Guide inside Business Class — and I’m offering it to you here for free!)
Inside the Pitch Perfect guide I’ve included…
-Examples of great pitches from companies in a variety of industries.
-Proven templates that you can use to quickly and easily craft your own perfect pitches for a number of different situations.
-An actual word for word script that I used to land a client worth tens of thousands of dollars for my company.
-A step-by-step formula for increasing your confidence and making your offer stand out.
4. Show respect
When reaching out to media, remember: They don’t owe you anything. A lot of inexperienced pitchers will approach media with the attitude that they’re doing them some kind of favor — and that is the wrong approach.
While it’s true that media outlets are constantly on the lookout for fresh stories, they normally don’t have to look very far to find them.
Instead, approach them with an attitude of helping and respect their time and attention.
If they pick up the phone, ask them if they have a couple of minutes to hear an idea before diving into a pitch. If they’re busy, they’ll appreciate your willingness to postpone the call for a later time. Ask to schedule a call.
When you have the opportunity to make the pitch, go the extra mile to be helpful. If you have product photos or headshots they can use, say so. If you can provide additional experts or materials for their story, offer it. Your job is to make it a no brainer for them to say yes to your pitch.
With these 4 keys in mind — and the PR Pitch Script from inside the Perfect Pitch Destination Guide — you can become a PR pitching pro and take advantage of the many opportunities and avenues that crafting an irresistible pitch can open up for your business.
That’s why I’ve dedicated an entire month in Business Class to teach members how to be confident and successful in any pitching situation, with the media and beyond.