According to The Guardian, there are now four times as many PR professionals in the United States as there are journalists. Four times as many people [SPAM] blasting pitches, as there are people to pitch them to. Imagine all the noise that creates for journalists...press releases and pitches pouring in at a break-neck pace, without consideration of who they are going to. This creates a challenge for both PR pros and journalists. Both stand to lose out if a great story is buried under a mountain of irrelevant, generic pitches.
So, how do you make sure your pitch isn't tagged 'irrelevant'? Well, you have a good story to start with (right?!) and you've backed it up with relevant quotes, statistics, images, maybe even video! (No more counter-productive boring pitches!!) You're almost there! But even the most perfect pitch can be seen as irrelevant if you aren't getting it to the right person. Here are a few things to consider as you 'commit to relevance' in each individual pitch...
Consider the Story Type
All your pitches are not created equal. They will fall into one or more of several categories, including:
- Product announcements
- Financial milestones
- Culture news
- Industry trends
- Customer success stories
- Thought leadership
Journalists specialize; they have to. I know this seems obvious and if it is, then you are the awesome PR pro who splits lists based true customization. Sometimes the journo that writes about vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, cruelty-free, Kosher lipstick is the only one you need to talk to :) But some PR pros work under the assumption that interest in one of your stories signifies interest in them all. FALSE. Sometimes your story is a soundbite, sometimes a single data point, and sometimes it truly is all about what your brand is accomplishing. But any assumption that blasting a pitch to a media contact database will drive valuable coverage is going to work against your efforts. Not only do you want your pitch to stand out, but you want the journalists with the right (engaging, tweeting, snap chatting) audience. That's what will elevate your PR game.
Think About SEO Impact
Sending personalized and relevant pitches takes more time than simply blasting everyone in your database, but it is far more effective. That’s why you want to think about which journalists and publications are likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck. One important PR metric to consider is the SEO impact you will get from a successful pitch. The key to SEO impact is the domain authority of the site that links to you. You can find each website’s domain authority in TrendKite, or in Moz’s open site. A single quality link from a highly-regarded site can have a huge impact on where you land in search, making it much easier for people to find you. CMO’s love SEO because organic traffic is free and it converts better than paid.
Can You Find a Hook?
Once you have narrowed down the field of targeted journalists, another useful way to be sure you connect with the right people is to look for a hook. Is there any reason that the individual writer might be interested in your specific story right now? Have they written about something relevant lately? Are they tweeting about something on point? Might your pitch answer a question that they’ve posed? In your mind, imagine that your pitch arrives in their inbox along with thirty others. Why would they open and read yours? Relationships help a lot, and we’ll talk about that in another post, but even with a great relationship, your story must be compelling and meaningful to them in the moment.
We have not just laid out the easiest way to send pitches to journalists. But by putting in the upfront effort to create the perfect match between your pitch and the media contacts you want most to reach most, you’ll boost your chances of success and ultimately get results that are well worth the effort.
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About the Author
Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job as content marketing manager at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other trade publications.Follow on Twitter More Content by Lacey Miller