Previously published on http://digitalbrandmarketing.com on January 11, 2012.
Despite the fact that nearly 300 newspapers closed and social media has grown over the past few years, securing media coverage is still one of the best ways to create a buzz about your brand, your products and your services.
With the rise of blogs, online magazines and stable local television news programming (broadcast, cable and online), there are many outlets where businesses and individuals can get their stories told and reach tens of thousands, if not millions.
The key to securing media coverage is creating the right pitch with the appropriate information and sending it to the right media person. No matter how much the media changes and no matter what outlet is being pitched these rules always apply.
Members of the media are not in the business of writing ads or commercials for you. They want news and information that is relevant to their readers and of interest to them. When pitching remember you want to get to know to whom you are pitching. Think like a reporter or editor. Research reporters and follow them on social media and build a relationship. According to Kara Sassone’s 5 Tips for Getting Media Coverage Using Social Media, on Hubspot.com blog, pay attention to what journalists are posting. If relevant get involved in the conversation.
What makes a good pitch? According to comments made by Douglas Fruehling, editor of the Washington Business Journal, in a blog by Christine Cube: Tips for Pitching Business Editors on PR Newswire’s Profnet Blog, the key is to know the organization and the news outlet before a pitch is even made. Pitching without knowing the outlet or the media person is a major problem that I often see non-media relations professionals making. It hurts their chances to get a story and limits the ability to build a relationship with a member of the media over the long term.
Do you want to get your story out to the media? Here are two sites that you can start with today:
Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
This site has been around for a number of years and there is no cost to sign up. After you create an account you receive regular e-mails with lists of queries from members of the media looking for sources. If you are an expert or have information in the subject matter they are asking about you can submit a pitch.
Advantage: Multiple opportunities are sent to you ever day and some come from major news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today and CNNMoney.com. You could get a major hit by using this service.
Disadvantage: Because this is free there are many subscribers. This means that if you submit a pitch you are probably competing with dozens, possibly hundreds of others. Reporters may stop looking at pitches once they have found one that they like. On this site you also do not communicate directly with reporters so you never know their e-mail address. This limits the ability to follow up on a pitch.
This free site provides regular emails to subscribers seeking to pitch stories to the media. E-mails contain media pitch requests and users submit requests through an online portal.
Advantage: Free and easy to use online portal for submitting information. Fewer subscribers which make your chances of getting a story better.
Disadvantage: Fewer opportunities coming from fewer media outlets. This service does not have as many large media outlets, but they do have national radio programs and others who frequently ask for sources.
Pitching the media is an art form and it takes skill, creativity and knowledge of what the media is looking for. However, if you have a good story, are an expert source and have the time, utilize these free services and put your pitching skills to the test.
This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @wjcorbett