Knowing how difficult it is to get the attention of mainstream reporters, I watched Cision’s webinar, “The New Rules of Media Pitching,” with Michael Smart of Michael Smart PR.
Here are some points that struck me.
Page views are the new prime factor that reporters use to determine whether they will use your content, according to Cision’s 2016 State of the Media Report. Facebook “shares” are a distant second factor.
What does that mean for you? It means you should tout the online performance of your web content. Pitch content that’s doing well online or predict it will do well. This approach works best with groups such as “digital natives” (e.g., online sites like Mashable) and young influencers.
To create a newsworthy angle, connect your content to some ”new” content. One PR person connected an old book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes Are High, with the Thanksgiving holiday and the challenge of friendly conversations with relatives.
Plug any holes in your media list. Search for new outlets and refresh your media list at least quarterly.
Use social media to develop a relationship even when you don’t have anything to pitch. According to the Cision survey, most reporters want to get pitches via email, not via social media. However, 73% of the respondents want to build relationships through social media. So follow the reporters on Twitter and Facebook. Retweet their tweets, adding a thoughtful comment (something more significant than “a great read”). Eventually the reporters will recognize your name, which definitely increases the chance they will read your next email.
Make a well-researched, personal reference. Again, in the survey, 79% of the respondents wanted public relations pros to “tailor pitches to suit my beat” and 77% wanted them to “better understand my outlet.” So refer to their earlier work. Mention something that makes it clear that you read the article and have something to add to the discussion.
Cision’s “New Rules”webinar contains other great techniques and examples of how those techniques can be applied. I encourage you to watch it.