Dear [Insert Name],
[Superfluous greeting, that is completely unnecessary].
I am writing to request that you write a story about my client. I will detail why in the next 5 paragraphs. None of this will be relevant to your beat, your publication and it won’t be newsworthy in the slightest.
A very lazy PR pro who is making things harder on the rest of us.
We’ve all sent those pitches a time or two. It happens when we’re overwhelmed and just can’t take the time to do some additional research on that media list or reporter – it’s easier to just check it off our list.
Resist the temptation to be a lazy a**hole, and follow these basic and simple guidelines for bringing authenticity back into your pitches.
Find the Angle
As a PR pro, it is our job to find the newsworthiness in the story we are pitching. Time needs to be spent analyzing the subject matter, chatting with experts (hopefully our clients) and then identifying the hook that can lead to media coverage. Muck Rack reminds us that these hooks usually lie beneath the surface and must be discovered and developed. The process for uncovering good storylines requires a combination of understanding and confidence—one supports the other.
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Customize. Customize. Customize.
PR guru, Michael Smart, says this about pitching – capture a journalist’s attention by showing that you know and love them, and that you’ve done the homework to be able to prove it.
If you want to get a reporter’s attention, you need to send a sincere, well-researched individualized pitch. Dig into their past stories, Muck Rack profile and social media to get an idea of how they write, what they write on and the why behind their stories.
Repeat after us: Be brief, be memorable, be gone.
Reporters find us annoying and they’d be right. Following-up after sending a pitch is a non-negotiable. We follow-up 3, 4, sometimes even 5 times. The key is differentiating each follow-up. Change up your subject line, add in new information, comment on why the story still has merit. Find a way to stand out.
Slide into those Twitter DMs if you have to. We’ve got no shame.
Reporters are people too. They have a pretty thankless job, imagine writing about the imploding global supply chain on a weekly basis…not fun.
Send a thank you note, email or just check in everyone once in a while. This entire industry is built on relationships, so get used to it.
There is a lot more to media relations, but finding the story, customizing, following up and being a good human are core to succeeding in public relations.