The Media Is Your Marketing Department

You need to treat the media as your friend.

Get to know journalists who write about your area of interest or business. Introduce yourself and send them information to use in their news stories. Soon, you will become a regular resource for them to call upon.

Solid working relationships with journalists are a valued commodity for PR communicators, but how do you reach out to journalists you do not know?

5 Tips for Breaking Through to Journalists You Don’t Know

1. Target Your Lists – Use a media database, LexisNexis, or your own web research to identify journalists covering your topic area, or client’s topic area.

2. Know Your Journalists – Research their coverage histories intensively. Often times it will vary beyond their assigned beats.

3. Start the Conversation – Pitch them in whichever way they prefer and whichever way you are most comfortable. Phone shy? Start with a short email pitch. Mention a story you liked and how your angle ties in with that. Make it timely, short and to the point. Make sure it ties in with what is being discussed in the 24/7 news cycle for more impact.

4. Tap Into Your Network – Do you know someone who works for an outlet who can advise you on what journalist would be best to approach? Do you know other journalists who can do this for you? Do not be hesitant to reach out.

5. Follow Up – Once you’ve made the connection, thank them for their time but don’t overdo it. Keep them interested and answer their questions. Provide them with information or other angles they may not be thinking of. Become a source they can trust and rely on long term. Recommend others in the field as sources. Be the connector.

One last piece of advice... Not every reporter is alike and you will get various reactions to your pitch. On average it takes 10 pitches for one to lead to a journalist who is interested. The better you target, the better your average.            


Media Pitching Tips

Anticipate a reporter’s needs; pitching isn’t necessarily about the company’s needs.

1. Separate real news about your company from promotional puffery.

2. Deliver a sharp story angle that will be of interest to the reading or viewing public.

3. Do the reporter’s homework—include facts, figures, photos, video, trends and your contact info.

4. Target the right reporters by doing your research.

5. Build a custom pitch list for each story or news release.

6. Review the reporter’s stories and those in the publication to understand audience and angles.

7. Pick 5 to 20 reporters that might realistically cover your news; don’t spam 500 with a generic email.

8. Show that you are a resource and want to help educate their readers, listeners or viewers.

9. Build relationships by being responsive and accessible.

10. Face-to-face relationships matter; meet for coffee or a drink.

11. Timely responses to a reporter’s email and phone calls make a difference when you need something.
Be friendly, be honest—even if it’s only to acknowledge the inquiry.

12. Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter (Facebook can be too social).

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