A Few Dos & Don’ts When Pitching The Media
Want some publicity for your store or product? Publicists are often worth the investment – although nothing is ever guaranteed, even when working with the best publicists in the game. Many store owners are reaching out on their own to gain media attention. Here are a few simple dos and some don’ts that can help you pitch the media:
- Know to whom you’re pitching and what sections within their media/editorial outlet may be best for your story idea. Take the time to actually read and learn about the magazines, newspapers, websites, radio or television outlets that you want to be featured in from an angle beyond just pure leisure. Become familiar with the monthly sections that are available in magazines and be prepared to confidently pitch your business to the appropriate editor/writer. Make it as easy as possible for the writer. Think about your pitch from their point of view.
- Be prepared to follow up with samples if requested. Too often small business owners jump ahead of themselves in an effort to gain press but aren’t prepared for sample requests. Make sure you can get things to an editor right away when requested. Editors often work fast and make quick decisions – you want to be prepared to support that.
- Have a professional media kit prepared. This may or may not be requested, but you should have one ready just in case. The media kit should include your line sheets (if applicable), bio/business overview, photos, brand information, testimonials and anything else that best represents your business and the story you’re pitching.
- Follow up with thank yous. If you just spoke with someone on the phone, follow up within the day with a thank you/follow up email. In the subject line, identify who you are and that you just spoke. Editors get tons of emails a day, so make sure your subject line is effective so it doesn’t get ignored. Finally, if you do gain press or a face-to-face meeting, follow up with a hand written thank you and possibly some other nice gesture. Your goal should be to build an ongoing relationship.
- Never expect an editor to know who you are – even if you have corresponded before. Always politely introduce yourself, whether on the phone or in an email.
- Don’t brag about other press you’ve received. All media wants to be the first to showcase something great and something new. If you have gained some great press, that’s good. But there is no need to share this with the media unless pressed for the information from the editors.
- Never assume that a great conversation or a verbal mention of press from an editor is guaranteed press. The only time you can assume it’s guaranteed is when you see it in print, on the web or on television.
- Keep Trying! Gaining publicity is not easy. You may or may not get lucky the first time around. It takes time to make a pitch and create trusting relationships with the media. It may take months before you even hear back from an editor – but be persistent, positive and confident. You need to believe in your pitch or no one else will.