When you’re pitching a story for your brand, it may be tempting to send your pitch to as many media contacts as you can find. Experienced PR pros, however, know that this approach is usually a one-way ticket to getting your pitch sent to an inbox’s trash can.
With so many media outlets and numerous reporters at each one, how can you find the media contacts that are the best fit for your brand? Here are a few tips from our media relations experts to get started:
Tip #1: Pick Your Publication
Assuming you have already identified the target audience for your brand, the first step to pitching success is determining the publications that cater to the interests of that audience.
For example, if you’re a national brand focused on cosmetics and makeup, it doesn’t make sense to spend time researching and pitching regional parenting publications or national outdoor living magazines. Your target audience will be reading national publications that have a beauty focus, such as Cosmopolitan or SELF.
Spend time researching the publications that produce content related to the focus of your brand (especially if they have written about your competitors!). These publications will be more likely to respond to your pitches and help you get a successful story placement.
Tip #2: Prioritize the Right People
Once you’ve identified a list of target publications, it’s time to determine which journalists at each publication are the right people to pitch.
To start, you will want to identify the beat of each reporter, which can usually be found on the publication’s website along with the reporter’s contact information. Before you rush to copy and paste their email address into your contact list, do a quick Google search and red a few of their recent articles to make sure their beat is up-to-date and the right fit for your story.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the angle of your pitch will likely determine which media contact to reach out to. If you are trying to get your brand included in a product roundup, your pitch should be directed to a publication’s e-commerce editor. If you’re trying to spread the news about a new partnership for your brand, a business writer would be a better fit.
Tip #3: Perfect the Process
As you research media contacts, you are bound to discover that not all journalists have a hyper-specific beat, or that some publications have multiple journalists covering the same beat.
In this case, it’s best to search key words related to your brand or industry on the publication’s website. Taking the time to read through the content you find will help you evaluate which journalists are writing about your key topics the most.
Also, don’t forget to check the dates on the articles, especially when you’re searching by keywords. Journalists may not stay in the same beat or even at the same outlet for long, which is why it’s vital to keep your media list up-to-date.
TIP: Need some guidance on keeping your media contacts current? Don’t miss our “Tips for Maintaining Your Media Contact List” blog post!
Once you’ve got the basics of pitching down, it may beneficial to invest in tools that will help you speed up the process. For example, platforms like Cision and Meltwater allow you to identify media contacts and publications by key search terms and industries, and even allow you to narrow your search to specific media markets and publication types. If you do choose to use these tools, it’s still important to do your research on each contact to ensure their content is relevant to your brand.
Overall, the most important thing to remember when building your brand’s media list is that not all of the media contacts you find will be a fit for your brand. Taking the time to research journalists and the topics they care most about will help to ensure your pitch lands in front of the right people, increasing the chances that you will get the perfect story placements for your brand.
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