Are you hoping to get a story in the media about your product or service? Everyday brands around the world are looking to open up a paper or turn on the news to see a journalist talk about what their company offers. It is not always easy to get media coverage, and not every pubic relations agency delivers results.
Securing press coverage for your business is a process that never ends as you will always have some new story. Pitching takes time and effort. Here are the top 5 ways that people fail when pitching to the media:
1. Missing contact information:
This sounds like a no brainer, yet so many people skip this obvious and simple step. They will make a pitch to the media and fail to include an email address or a phone number to reach them on their website. Journalists do not want to spend time filling out a contact form to reach you. Make your contact information visible in the footer of your site to increase your chances of visibility.
2. Not having high-resolution photos:
It perplexes me how many people pitch media and do not have a simple high-resolution photo. This is an absolute must if you are pitching a personal branding angle or if you are trying to secure a column as a contributor. If you don’t have a high-res photo, you can delay the entire process. You also need to have branded lifestyle photography for feature articles or human interest stories. If you are pitching an entrepreneurial angle, an editor will want to see you in action, meeting with clients or doing what you say you do best. Newsrooms are severely understaffed, so don’t expect them to send a photographer to your office.
3. Missing media collateral:
Journalists will need some some basic information. Make it as easy as possible for them to review what your information while working on the story. It may also spark new angles they may not have thought of. Include FAQs about the “Why” of your business. Try to answer all of the questions you think they may have so they can pull in relevant details from the Q&A or fact sheet. (Who, Where, How, When) You can do this in Microsoft Word. Avoid sending them a PDF.
4. Lacking knowledge of what the media likes:
Do you want to be quoted in the media? Then take some time to educate yourself on what journalists are looking for. If a journalist asks for your opinion, they aren’t looking for a one-line response. If you give them a one-liner, they are less likely to quote you. It is better to give more for them to pull from than less. Give them what they want, how they want it, when they want it and in the preferred format they want it in.
5. Missing major newsworthy talking points:
If you are pitching yourself as an expert, you must be frequently consuming the news. A journalist doesn’t want to hear that you have never heard of the story they are working on. They will seriously question your credibility.