In order to obtain an optimum amount of eyeballs, first understand how to catch a journalist’s attention.
Back when I was working as a journalist, I regularly found my inbox overflowing with emails from the likes of public relations representatives, business owners and charity founders all wanting one thing: Getting their organizations featured in the press.
In one role I held at a national newspaper supplement we had just two feature spaces to fill each week and there would be hundreds of people vying for these slots.
Getting featured in the media as a business owner can be an absolute game-changer. As a PR strategist, I’ve helped hundreds of clients triple their email lists, attracted warm leads and land thousands of dollars worth of sales after being in the press.
In general, most journalists are super busy and normally working tight deadlines, so anything you can do to make their life easier is going to earn brownie points. Pitching them something super valuable, whether you’re sharing your story or your expertise, will definitely help win favor.
Here are my tips for pitching the press and getting featured in well-known publications.
Make it a HELL YES
If you can pitch something that looks like a great fit for an outlet, you’re going to have a lot more chance at success.
Do your research and discover what you can offer them that sits well in their publication. For example: If they tend to run “top tips” pieces, then offer them an article sharing your best advice. Or if they have run a glut of personal essays, you can offer them a first-person piece sharing your experiences. If they regularly run Q&As with business owners you can suggest yourself for that specific column. Always offer something that you can imagine seeing in their publication.
Share your story
Give journalists a reason to write about your company by sharing the story. Knowing your business’s behind-the-scenes background will appeal to a journalist way more than someone just trying to promote their people. Let the reporter know how it all started, the overall motivation and why you do what you do. This is what will pique a media professional’s interest and make him or her want to know more.
Make it timely
When you make your pitches relevant it gives the journalist a reason to run the story now, rather than someday in the future. Make it timely by linking your idea to an awareness date while tying it into a recent story. Try Google Trends to discover the topics that are being talked about and to discover holidays and observances from around the world.
Write a click-bait headline
Encourage the journalist to open your email by using a compelling subject header. In general, it’s a good idea to keep your headline succinct and use it to let the recipient know exactly what the pitch is about before they even open it. Focus on what they get from this article you’re proposing and consider including a “power word” (strong adjectives like amazing, ultimate, absolute or essential), which always convert well.
Short and sweet is best
If you can keep your email pitch to the point, you’ll have a far higher chance of winning over the journalist. Include all the important information, but don’t make the media target have to wade through a long rambling missive. You can even use bullet points to clearly set out the essential elements of your idea.
Get yourself media-ready
Before reaching out to a journalist, make sure you’re properly prepped, so that you can get the best out of any media opportunities. Some things you can do to ensure your website is up-to-date as a reporter will likely hop over to your URL immediately after you contact them. Have any facts, figures or information relating to your pitch ready to go and be prepared to answer any additional questions. It’s also a great idea to have a high-res image of yourself ready to send to them if they ask.
Now you’re ready to start pitching and sharing your story, your expertise and your message in a much bigger way.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer