Being mentioned in the media is a big part of marketing, especially for a startup. However, you want to be presented in a positive way, one that will create the right image of your company. Plus, dozens of entrepreneurs are trying to pitch their startup, so you need an approach that will make you stand out from the crowd and direct the public eye your way. There are many ways to bring attention to yourself through media, but you want to come up with a strategy that will be the most effective one, so here is a list of 14 tips for you to try out.
1. Go for the journalist that’s a good fit
You want to reach out to a journalist that actually makes sense. Most journalists have an area they cover and specific newspapers they write for, so make sure your pitch and their field of expertise overlap.
2. Look at it from a journalist’s perspective
When you’re done writing your pitch, look at it as if you were the reporter who will be reading it. Is it interesting? Will the information be valuable to the reader? Does it offer more to the reader than just blatant marketing of who you are? If not, rewrite it until it has real value.
3. Cover the five W’s
In journalism, the five W’s are who, when, where, why and what, and you should answer the five right from the start of your pitch. It is essentially the most important information around which the journalist will center the whole story, so letting them know immediately what’s the core of the story will make it easier for the journalist.
4. Make the subject line interesting
The subject line in an e-mail is the first thing everyone sees, so you should try to grab the reporter’s attention with it. It should be intriguing and provocative enough so that the person you’re sending the pitch to is tempted to open it. Reporters receive many pitches on a daily basis, therefore, you need something that will separate you from everybody else.
5. Send your pitch early
As the day progresses, every reporter has less and less time to deliver their articles on time. For that reason, it’s better to send your pitch early in the morning, so they would have enough time to review it before other tasks pile up.
6. Be concise
Avoid making your pitch too lengthy – if it gets too descriptive and long, the journalist will gloss over it, see that it will take him/her too much time to read and move on. The pitch should contain the essential information and reasons why the reporter should consider it. Everything else that can make it too detailed should be omitted.
7. Try using bullet points
When it comes to creating a pitch, lists are your new best friend. It’s easier and clearer to go through a list than paragraphs, so don’t hesitate to include it in your pitch. It makes it easier for a journalist to read and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, do you?
8. Include the numbers
Statistics and research related to your pitch will make it more valuable to the reporter. It gives them facts that are not only going to make it easier to decide whether they will take on the story or not, but will also make it easier for them to write it. Include data that is useful, but don’t go overboard with it, because it can be too much to go through.
9. Don’t be annoying
If a reporter doesn’t answer back, avoid sending more e-mails or calling. It comes across as pushy and he/she will become unwilling to work with you. Pressuring a journalist to respond will only turn out to be counterproductive, so leave freedom of choice to them. You job is to send the best possible pitch, but ultimately, making a decision is entirely up to them.
10. Don’t aim too high
A mistake commonly made by people trying to pitch their startup is that they aim for the biggest news outlet right from the start. Don’t do that – instead, start local and work your way up. If you reach out to the biggest newspaper or magazine, not only will you most likely not get a response, but their readers are also much more diverse. You want to begin with smaller publications that are read by your target group. Over time, you’ll earn credibility and can be featured in bigger ones.
11. Be transparent
It’s important to stay truthful when writing your pitch. If you add semi-truths to your pitch to make it more appealing or have them agree to a meeting under false pretenses, the outcome is not likely to be a positive one. Be real about who you are and why you need the reporter.
12. Offer your help
You don’t want to seem too self-advertising when contacting a reporter, in fact, it’s much better to offer them your advice or expertise, even when they are not writing about your startup in particular. It helps build a good relationship, so the reporter is likely to return the favor in the future. Be as helpful as you can – it’s beneficial for both parties.
13. Be polite
At the end of the day, we are all just people. Everyone wants to be treated with respect and appreciation. With that in mind, you will achieve much better results if you approach a reporter nicely, be polite and courteous. If you make them feel like they are simply a means to an end, they have no reason to help you and there’s no way you can force them anyway. So, a little humor and amicability will get you much further.
14. Don’t give up
More often, reporters won’t respond to your pitch than they will, so don’t be discouraged if you instantly don’t succeed. Be persistent, reach out to many of them and every time, try to improve your pitch before you send it. Eventually, someone will take notice.
If you implement these strategies, you probably won’t need a PR agency to help you out. With a little luck and persistence, a door will open and, over time, you will reap the benefits of good media coverage.