Perfecting your pitch to journalists

When it comes to getting a buzz going about a product or service that you’ve been tasked to market, journalists are like the gatekeepers to good publicity.

Getting your product or service mentioned by one of them in a publication or website with high readership is like getting a Golden Ticket and often nothing more than a few well-placed tweets with relevant hashtags is enough to turn a story viral.

However, approaching journalists should be done with caution, as taking the wrong tack could see your email relegated to the ‘Trash’ folder before they’ve even seen the pitch. Read the following list and keep the points in mind before every pitch to get the best response:

Make It Personal

There’s nothing worse than getting an email from a marketing professional with “Dear [insert name]” or some other generic opener left unedited as a placeholder at the top of the page. If you’ve got the name of the person you’re emailing, make sure you use it, otherwise you can expect radio silence or very short shrift – and rightfully so.

Do Your Research

We know that it’s tempting to send out a mailshot to as many people as possible, but if you’re sending information to journalists who aren’t relevant to your niche, you’re going to be wasting both your time and theirs. Keep your contact list up to date to make sure your outreach gives you the best bang for your buck, rather than sending emails which will be both irrelevant and, in a worst-case scenario, even offensive.

Don’t Undervalue People

It would be great to think that every person you contact is going to talk about what you’re marketing in every high-circulation publication imaginable, but this doesn’t always equate to sales conversions, purely because it’s like shouting into a big room full of various different types of people who aren’t necessarily in the right demographic. People who write for more targeted publications or blogs in your niche may not have the same reach, but their audience is probably more engaged with what you’re trying to promote, which in the long run could likely equal more sales.

Remain Professional

We know that it can be tempting to try to put a friendly spin on an approach, and if you have an existing relationship with a journalist then this might be appropriate. However, in most other cases, people want a friendly, but above all, professional approach. We’ve heard journalists tell horror stories of receiving emails from overzealous marketing people who use the word “hun” to address them, or even worse – put kisses at the end of their emails!

Keep it Brief

If you’re marketing a product about which you feel passionately, it can be tempting to waffle on about it at great length, which is fine if you’ve already got the person’s attention, but using it as your opening pitch is likely to leave people dead behind the eyes. Introduce your product or service in a snappy, engaging way, highlighting the important points and if you catch their interest, then hit them with the full blurb.

Don’t have the confidence to approach journalists, or maybe you don’t have the time to spend researching into which topics which outlet/journalist covers. Let us do the hard work with our PR service. We’ll write your press release and itch it to relevant journalists, giving you the best chance of securing coverage.

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