After optimizing your site for search engines and pursuing other marketing efforts, it’s time to use the power of the press to boost sales, awareness and credibility cost-effectively. But how do you pitch your story to a reporter?
Here are some quick tips to help you through the media process:
1. Know Your Targeted Media Members.
Before you even reach out to a reporter, you should know what that person writes about and what he or she will be interested in discussing. Do your homework before contacting a specific reporter, and you’ll have a much better understanding of what you should say (and the topics to avoid).
2. Have Talking Points Ready.
With point #1 in mind above, write down all of the benefits your business has to offer. Know why a reporter will be interested in what you have to say, and practice giving your unique story angle. Then, when the time is right, you’ll be ready. (You may even want to have your talking points written on an index card by your phone.)
3. Be Newsworthy.
Try to think of a way that your business fits in with current news and industry events. Develop a story angle related to something newsworthy and current. Then, approach a reporter with your idea.
4. Be Unique.
Media members want fresh, interesting stories. Try to stand out from the crowd and provide your opinion about a current topic, unique statistic or story angle that no one else can offer. By conducting some research and offering something different, you’ll get much farther with your publicity efforts.
5. Be Succinct.
Reporters are on deadline. Get to the point fast. Practice what you are going to say in advance. Then, speak clearly and succinctly. Mention the most important benefits of your story-angle first. Reporters will appreciate your sense of urgency and respect for their time.
6. Know Your Industry.
Become an expert in your field and know the most current news, events and activities within your industry. Share your news with reporters. And soon, they will come to you for the latest industry updates
7. Offer Expert Advice.
Without pitching your own products and services, introduce yourself as an expert to targeted media members. Comment on a current news item, provide a special report and offer your help with a future article. Reporters will appreciate the fact that you are willing to provide assistance and may add you to their list of resources.
8. Follow-up Accordingly.
Media members are busy people, and you will probably need to make an effort to stay in touch with them. If you are waiting for a pending story or a call back and haven’t heard anything for a few days, feel free to contact the media member directly. Try not to be a pest, but conduct the appropriate follow-up when necessary. This is essential to obtaining clips and maintaining professional, media relationships.
Hopefully, these tips will help you pitch your story to media members and get results. By “thinking like a reporter” and offering beneficial information in a timely fashion, you’ll definitely increase your chances of obtaining some good media coverage that will make a difference on the bottom line.
About the Author: Melanie Rembrandt helps businesses boost sales, awareness and credibility through publicity and online copywriting efforts at Rembrandt Communications®, LLC. For your valuable, free tips and information, visit www.rembrandtwrites.com.
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