There are effective ways to reach out to a reporter and editor and there are not-so-effective ways. These days editors and reporters are busier than ever. If you do it wrong, you become a nuisance. Done right, online publications will come back to you again and again for feature stories or to comment on stories regarding your industry. Additionally, the strategy varies depending on the media outlet.
Here is some of what we have learned over the years and utilize at Augment Marketing.
Know your audience
You have to know to whom you want to pitch your story. Is it the local newspaper that you’re hoping will run a feature story about your company? Is it an industry publication that just publishes weekly or monthly? Is it something else? Do your research and know what kind of publication it is, how often it’s published, and then adjust your pitch accordingly. A local story will want something a bit more broad whereas an industry publication will want a more technical story about your company and industry.
Know the timing
Editors get hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pitches every single day. That means you have to stand out. First, you should remember that phone calls are not well received. Most editors are too busy to bother with calls. Create an email instead, but remember the deadlines. When does the publication print their next issue? Review editorial calendars and determine if you have a topic that would fit one of their planned stories months in advance. Most publications have editorial calendars printed and downloadable online.
One you email the editors, be patient. Don’t pester them, provide them with a quick outline of your story and why your company is the right fit and email it to them. Give them time to review it. Keep it short, get to the point fast and be sure to explain the pertinent details quickly.
Know when to follow up
Give it a day or two and then follow up – via email! You can try one phone call, but ask first if the editor is busy or on deadline first. If they are – hang up! When you send the email make it worthwhile and add more details about why you think your company would be a good fit for the article. If you are calling and the deadline for the article is tight, you might just be too late. That’s why the editorial calendars are so important. The more advanced you can get them the pitch the better.
Know when to back off
If you are not getting any feedback from the reporter or editor, don’t get mad and start sending flurries of emails or phone calls. That will just put you on the outs with the publication. Back off and try again in a month. The editor is probably just busy and that means they don’t have time to write back. Relax. Be calm. Try another publication or just try again later.
Know how to track your articles
With persistence and determination you will get articles published. In order for them to be successful then be sure you find the articles online. Print out a PDF version for your clips file. Since you probably have a company blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or other social media outlets then put a link there. Drive traffic to the article and that will also appeal to the publication.
Know when to get help
Creating story pitches and pitching to the media can be a full time job. It takes persistence and there is a real art to creating effective pitches. So, if you don’t have time, are struggling, or just can’t seem to find the time be sure to reach out for help from experts such as Augment Marketing. There are those who do this kind of thing for a living and spend each and every day and they can help you out.