If you have any familiarity with marketing, you’re likely familiar with the trifecta of marketing effectiveness: you want to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The marketing automation and inbound marketing fields are perfecting this methodology through software.
But have you ever thought about how much this can apply to media relationship management as well?
I’m not talking about automating PR pitching – we know that doesn’t end well – but the theory of hyper-targeting your message. We know that mass marketing a single, generic message to a broad audience segment yields very few quality returns. Similarly, trying to make a single, generic pitch everything to every journalist on a media list is just as big a waste of time.
We’ve talked before about smart media relations techniques, especially compared to the pitfalls of mass pitching. Now we’re going to break it down and show you how to apply the “right” trifecta to your pitching process.
Without a strong angle, your pitch is nothing more than an elaborate and expensive FYI. How interesting is that to anyone, much less a busy journalist? It’s not – in fact, it can be annoying. Just like in marketing, your story has to break through the noise of every other pitch in an editor’s inbox. Here are some tips:
• Find the uniqueness in your story. Don’t make the journalist hunt for it.
• Tweak the message based on the recipient of the pitch. A new technology for small businesses is going to be interesting to a tech reporter for one reason and a small business reporter for another reason. Same story – two unique angles. Find them.
• Get to the point quickly. In this interview, a journalist explains that if she isn’t interested by the first 2-3 paragraphs, she’s not going to keep reading.
• Create a great subject line. What’s going to make an editor click on YOUR email before the other 4 dozen emails waiting to be read?
Here’s a public service announcement I shouldn’t have to make: don’t pitch to someone who doesn’t cover the subject matter you’re pitching. You’d be surprised by how often it still happens. Like marketing that lacks smart segmentation, the fallacy of the mass pitch is that you’re going to get ignored far more times than you’ll earn a reaction. That won’t say much about you when you’re reporting back to your client on the results of the campaign.
Furthermore, it tarnishes your brand in the mind of the media contacts and influencers who receive the pitch. Just like in marketing, a message for an enterprise buyer is going to look bad in the inbox of a small business owner.
Burn this into your brain: you must research these contacts before you pitch them. Make sure you not only find the people who cover the right industry, but who tell the kinds of stories that will make the biggest impact for your client.
First and foremost, respect the reporter’s time – unless you enjoy being hung up on or deleted. Don’t send a magnum opus in an email, or ramble on and on about your story on a voicemail.
Pay attention to trending topics and help capitalize on situations already in the spotlight. This pays benefits on both ends; it can help you solidify your relationships with certain media contacts while positioning your company or client as a thought leader. Imagine, for instance, that your PR agency represents a cybersecurity firm. Next time a major breach is in the news, pitch an article or opinion piece on why cyberattacks are on the rise and how companies can protect themselves.
Finally, remember the most important part of good media relations is the “relationship” part. Build a history of being interesting, relevant and timely with your media contacts and you’re much more likely to receive a friendly reception for future pitches.
Sounds like smart media relations in our book.