Media relations: how to be pitch perfect
Media relations is a key component in building your company’s reputation.
Effective communication with the media can secure valuable opportunities for presenting your unique story and offering, as well as positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field. However, media relations is a fine art and there are many factors you must get right to reap the rewards.
Evaluate your content
The first step you should take before sending out any piece of content is to consider if it’s noteworthy. Press releases are journalists’ most wanted form of content, but you must reflect on whether the news has occurred recently enough and whether it impacts a sufficiently wide audience. For thought-leadership content, it’s important to provide a new insight or fresh perspective on a topic. It’s worth bearing in mind that 69% of journalists say that pitches connecting to a trending story are most shareable.
Journalists want to publish content that is trustworthy and non-promotional, so the content you pitch must not read like marketing or advertising copy. Ensure you have quality images or videos to accompany your written content, as 54% of journalists are more likely to cover a story if provided with multimedia. Only when you have fine-tuned the content you want to pitch should you move onto media relations.
Research your target media contacts
The most fundamental, and often overlooked, component of media relations is research. Alarmingly, more than two in three journalists find most pitches they receive irrelevant. Journalists are short on time, so it’s vital that the content you send them is well targeted. A major cause of irrelevant pitches is when a piece of content is distributed to a long, unfiltered list of contacts. While keeping several core lists in your relevant topic areas to hand can help speed up the pitching process, it’s essential that you create a new list for each distribution by carefully selecting the most appropriate contacts.
To ensure relevancy, it’s important that you investigate each journalist you plan to contact. What types of content do they publish? What are their areas of interest and have they got any suitable upcoming features? This ensures that when the journalist receives your pitch, it will spark their interest and fit in well with their existing content. It’s also worth keeping in mind that more than three quarters of journalists say they’re more likely to cover a story if it’s offered to them as an exclusive.
Get the logistics right
Even if a piece of content you pitch is ideally suited to the journalist, if you don’t share it in the correct way then it could be missed. For instance, 92% of journalists prefer to be pitched one:one via email, and 61% want to receive pitches before noon. In addition, pitches must be sent out far enough in advance for a specific day of importance, event or feature. After you’ve sent the pitch, it’s a good idea to follow up and make sure the journalist saw the content. Bear in mind that 45% of journalists say one follow up is ideal, so be careful not to go overboard.
Media relations is a complex and ever evolving area, and you must get the formula right to secure coverage. Communicating and building relationships with journalists takes time and a detailed understanding of the media landscape. If you’d like expert support with your media relations, contact the Sciad team today.
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