How to Pitch the Press

Have you tried pitching a story to the news media lately? If you haven’t, you should! Some of the best and most cost-effective (read: free) exposure you can get for your brand is through the press.

Trade magazines, local newspapers and business journals are a great resource for people who are looking for information or guidance in making purchasing decisions, so getting your share of coverage can mean a huge boost to both your credibility and your bottom line.

Getting press coverage doesn’t always come easy; it means making your brand press-ready and developing a pitch to get the attention of writers and editors. But if you don’t do your pitches right, you won’t get noticed and your press releases will find themselves in the trash bin.

Don’t send boilerplate press release titles
Emails with subject lines like “BREAKING NEWS FROM SUCH AND SUCH COMPANY” or “GREAT IDEA FOR STORY” will get your emails a lot of eye rolls from editors. In order to stand out, your subjects need to be specific and story-driven.

What is the great idea for a story? If you can’t come up with something good to say in the subject line, chances are your story isn’t worth reading. Think about the kinds of things the publication covers—what stories are relevant and what has been in headlines in recent history. Think of a way your brand’s story can tie in to recent news trends or offer some new insight.

Know your editor
Yes, sometimes the best way to some press coverage is by way of your connections. Be personable with writers, bloggers and people involved in the media industry. Developing trust and a personal connection will make you memorable among press types and give you a leg up when it comes time for deadlines.

Even if you haven’t met an editor or writer in person, take care to tailor your press pitches to make them more personal—address them by name; briefly explain why you think they, in particular, would be interested in your story. Being one of 1,000 people copied in a mass press release explosion isn’t terribly flattering.

Don’t overdo it
Bombardment leads only to spam filters. Be selective about what you pitch to the press and when you do it. Editors, even at local business journals and small town newspapers, often read through dozens of press releases each day.

Seeing the same name over and over can have the opposite effect you want. Be the person who sends to good stories every once in a while rather than the person who sends the banal stuff every day.

The press can be a great ally when it comes to boosting awareness for your brand, and by being smart about press pitches, you can get a lot of positive publicity and make some solid relationships with people in the media.