Whether you’re a seasoned PR pro or a fresh-faced founder with absolutely no media relations experience, who wouldn’t eagerly await a reply back from the press? The thought of contributing an article to a well-respected industry publication or having a reporter interview you about your company is exciting! Media wins are great ego boosts, not to mention contribute to increased website traffic and more exposure for you and your brand. But what happens if you’ve sent pitch after pitch, and don’t get any bites? Here are two proven ways to see a spike in your results.
If no one has responded to your story ideas or media requests, I’m pretty sure I can identity your main problem. It’s one of three things: You’re either contacting the wrong person, sending the wrong story or reaching someone who has neither time nor editorial space to spare. Neither you nor I can help the third one of those things. Journalists are insanely busy and may already have their articles planned out for the next three months, so they might have no opportunity to use what you send them (even if they like it). Or they could be constrained in what they cover because their editor has instructed them on what to write about. Or their inbox could be so flooded, they would only respond to an email directly from the white house at this point.
But the first two parts of this are up to you. And they both come back to doing your homework. I like to think of media research in terms of layers. You start by identifying the proper publication, and this is usually based on what your target buyers would theoretically read. Then you dig in to find someone with the correct title: typically an editor or managing editor if you want to place a contributed article, or reporter or writer if you want to secure a profile piece that highlights your company.
I know what you’re thinking… “This sounds laborious.” Am I right? If so, let me agree. It does sound laborious and that’s because it IS laborious. But it’s what needs to happen if you hope to land some media coverage at some point. So start by digging in and doing proper research into the people you want to contact, so you can get busy sending interesting stories to the right folks.
The next component to improving your results is to keep trying. Let me be clear: This is not to be confused with increasing the quantity of your pitches! Anyone who has mass-emailed journalists with a template-based approach has quickly found out this is a surefire way to get ignored – or even blackballed. Don’t do it. What I’m suggesting here is to repeat your efforts, refining them a little more each time you do. Here’s an example.
You’re looking to contribute an article to an industry publication. You offer a few article topics to a managing editor of one publication, and get no response. At this point, I’d recommend switching up your pitch and maybe adding in one more topic idea. Then send the pitch to a couple more managing editors at applicable publications. Still nothing? Retool the pitch (and subject line), and tweak the topics you’re offering… again. Send it to another one or two managing editors at relevant publications. Keep doing this until you finally get a response.
Yes, I know this sounds tiresome. You might strongly dislike me for having the gall to recommend you engage in laborious, tedious activities like the ones outlined in this post. You might even think I bait-and-switched you by including the word "tricks" in this title, making you think this would be easy. But I promise I am not being masochistic! The only reason I’m giving you these suggestions is because they are the only ones that work. So before you dejectedly lay your head on your desk, give the tips above a whirl. And be sure to send me an email about your successes once they start flowing – because I’m highly confident that's what will happen once you follow this tried-and-true advice. Go get 'em!