The first order of business when beginning a PR Campaign is to figure out your stories. Study the media and what kinds of stories they cover especially when it is a specific topic in which they interview an expert in that field to bring more credibility to the story. For example, if the media is discussing a top athlete’s recent injury and they need a doctor or pain specialist to comment on this, you could be that doctor. Notice which outlets discuss topics that are in your area of expertise. Once you have an idea of the media you want to pitch, and some stories you’re ready to pitch, you can begin to take the following steps:
1. Write a press release. A one pager that shows your knowledge about the topic with a catchy, useful angle for the media.
2. Build a media list. This can be tricky if you don’t have access to a database. Here are some databases to check out:
3. Once you have a list of contacts, begin narrowing them down. Write a paragraph with a pitch about your story and attach the press release. Send it out!
4. Then begin Follow-up calls. Check out other posts and information on how to follow-up with the media here …The PR Follow-Up Etiquette
Some helpful tips when pitching:
How many people do you know that react well to hard sales techniques? Although hard sells might initially get people to react to them, they’re certainly not the way to forge a long term working relationship. In fact if you approach people with the used car salesman approach, chances are good, that they’re going to do their best to avoid you. The media is no different. When pitching the press, trying to hard sell your story is not the way to go. Remember, you are trying to position yourself as a media resource. You want the media to understand that you’re on their side; and that you can help them meet their needs by giving them interesting stories . One way you are definitely not going to make your story seem appealing to a newspaper editor or TV producer by trying to push, or sell or bully a producer or editor to run a story.
This doesn’t mean you don’t try to get the best media coverage you can. If your story is hot or timely, and various media outlets are pursuing you, by all means, use that interest to your advantage. Inform the media outlets that there are others interested and that you need to make a decision as soon as possible. Try to negotiate the best coverage you can. But, even when you have piqued the media’s interest, you never want to steamroller the media in order to land a story.
Always keep in mind that you and the media are both on the same side. Let the media know that you have an interesting story that meets their needs and that you are an expert in the field. Be persistent but not pushy; eventually the media will feature you. You can always threaten, scream, cry, and badger the media, but all you are going to do is alienate them. Plenty of people do these things every day, but those aren’t the people you see featured in the media. Work with them, come up with interesting stories; position yourself as an ally. Become a part of the media’s team and they’ll work with you.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011