I've picked up some pretty valuable PR skills the last fifteen years. The most valuable of them all is having learned what a journalist does and doesn't respond to. Knowing this has saved me a tremendous amount of time and expense and increases my chances of coverage.
You should first know that journalists are swamped with pitches in their inbox every day. They are up against deadlines and are looking only for story ideas in alignment with their beat. In a sea of less than average pitches, this is your opportunity to increase your chances of getting coverage and being considered a trusted source.
Here Are 9 Practices To Adopt To Pitch Your Property Like A PR Pro
1. FIND OUT THE JOURNALIST’S PREFERRED METHOD OF COMMUNICATION
Do they want to receive your pitch over the phone or via email? Most likely it is email unless it is a very timely story.
Once you prove you are a great source for a stand out story, you may be invited to call the journalist directly on their cell phone the next time you have anything worthwhile to share. This is an awesome perk! You want every possible advantage to get your pitch seen and heard.
2. CREATE A KILLER SUBJECT LINE
I have a very high percentage of open rates for myself and my clients when I pitch the media. How do I do this? I create a personalized, enticing subject line that grabs the attention of that specific journalist, leading them to open the email and find out more. I am not a fan of sending the same email (cut and paste) and mass distributing. Make the journalists feel special by letting them know you did your homework on them. It pays off BIG TIME!!!
3. THE BIGGEST MYTH ABOUT SENDING PITCHES
The biggest myth is that you have to send your pitch to every media outlet on the planet to increase your odds of your story being picked up. The best strategy to have your pitches read is to personalize and thoughtfully pick out the journalists that are a perfect fit for your story. I cherry pick a handful of journalists for each pitch. This shows them I know their work and writing style as well as audience. I highly recommend this strategy.
4. FOLLOW JOURNALISTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Get a sense of a journalist’s personality and how they communicate. What they are posting on their blogs and on social media will give you powerful insight into how to appeal to them when you send your pitch via email.
5. READ THEIR ARTICLES
Know what they write about. You want to send your pitch to someone whose audience matches yours. Respect their time by only sending them stories that will appeal to their audience.
6. MONITOR YOUR OWN STORY
Journalists are busy. Some may shoot you an email and let you know when to expect your story to run, some may not. Be sure and set up Google Alerts and other tracking methods to follow your story coverage. These insights are invaluable and can be used to leverage more publicity and a smarter PR strategy.
7. HAVE EVERYTHING READY BEFORE YOU PITCH YOUR STORY
A folder with high-resolution images, business bio, complete contact details including your cell phone (drop everything when a journalist contacts you) and any necessary links, video, articles, etc. that complement your pitch. You don’t want to be frantically searching for files after a journalist has shown interest in your story. Have everything ready to go in a saved Google Folder or Dropbox folder so you can send over the direct link.
8. SHOW APPRECIATION
Be sincere and courteous throughout the entire process from start to finish when dealing with journalists. They are a conduit between you and your audience and have the resources to literally make your business overnight. After your story has run, write a handwritten thank you (yes, handwritten) and give them a thoughtful shout out on social media for the excellent piece. Their higher ups are paying attention and kind words go a long way. They won’t forget gesture from you.
9. MAKE IT (REALLY) GOOD
Ask yourself, is what I’m sharing newsworthy? Does this story fit in with my public relations strategy? Do I have measures in place to maximize my media coverage once the story runs? Remember, journalists want major traction. They want views, mentions, and shares of the stories they feature. At the end of the day, it’s about exceptional stories that generate big numbers. Help yourself and the journalist by delivering a great story for their body of work. Thinking this way is the difference between landing an awesome feature placement for your story and getting your email pitch tossed in the trash. Do this and your pitches will be received well by journalists.
Use the above 9 tips as a checklist the next time you want to win publicity for your property.
Would you like to learn how to pitch your property yourself and win features in top travel magazines? The PR Success Workshop is a 2 day workshop at your location for brands in the travel, hospitality or wellness industries who have management that can be trained to be PR experts themselves. This eliminates having to hire a PR agency and be obligated to a longterm contract.
To learn more about this 2 day workshop and see a sample itinerary, click here.
Ashley Steinmetz is the founder of Perfect Wave PR and advises the hotel, travel and wellness industries on best practices to win publicity and create relationships to generate more revenue.
Ashley is the creator of the PR Success Workshop where she teaches management how to pitch and win publicity like a PR professional.