If your media relations efforts are met with radio silence, you might be committing one of these mistakes. Here’s how to fix it.
Here are three common pitching foibles, along with how you can fix them:
1. Hogging the spotlight
Though you are writing a pitch to introduce a journalist to your brand and share why they should cover your story, don’t make the mistake of making it all about you.
Instead of touting all of your organization’s or client’s recent accomplishments and introducing outstanding new product offerings, make the pitch about the journalist and their readers. Share why your story will benefit them; you’ll be more likely to catch their attention.
2. Lengthy prose
It may take many paragraphs or pages to tell your full story, but writing a pitch is about spelling out the basics and teasing the journalist about the newsworthy qualities of your brand.
[RELATED: How to create shareable content by “newsjacking” breaking events.]
It’s best to leave out most of the information in favor of a few key details; if the reporter wants the full story, he or she will ask you for it.
3. Press release fatigue
A press release may cover all of the necessary information you are trying to convey, but they can bog down journalists who are looking for news.
Try pairing a press release with a quick email introduction highlighting its main bullet points and key takeaways. The reporter will appreciate you taking the time to craft a separate message and simplify the story.
Writing a pitch that’s only about you or your brand, drafting drawn out messages and flooding inboxes with press releases are good ways to ensure your emails end up in a reporter’s trash folder.
“Press releases will evolve. When was the last time you read through an entire press release? Proofreading your own releases doesn’t count. Just as other forms of communication are changing, so are press releases. Look for visual content to further infiltrate press releases, as the standard text-heavy format become less popular in the coming year.”
PRNews made seven predictions for the industry about 2015 not so long ago.
One of them was this – namely on how we are set to change the face of press releases in a (not so) big way this year. Whilst reading it I couldn’t help but think: “Well actually this is so 2012!”
Do you think you can say it better? – I hear my colleagues across the pond say.
Well let me try.
First of all proofreading your own release does count. The amount of errors journalists just about put up with equate to the amount of releases they delete as soon as they spot those errors. And we are talking about journalists who know their stats, their stuff and are generally sufficiently in love with their job – as much as they are with the written language they use – to care.
Ok I give them this: that visual content needs to form part of the new package of news releases. But why stop there?
Package the news inside a real story. Look at the stock market, read what’s making the headlines. Make your title relevant and importantly make it short and controversial (if your client understands the value of the sale). If they don’t understand the sale value – then it’s your job to sell that to them first.
Visual content is a lazy way of saying – generate more than just a photo. Whatever you do avoid using stock photos such as the one used in this article. So boring. Everyone has a camera nowadays whether its a DSLR or on your smartphone. Use those tools expansively! Think about your story and go for a walk (don’t forget the camera).
Even more interesting – generate a GIF. Plenty of online GIF generators exist out there so shoot a short video – perhaps of somebody testing out the product (if the release is about a launch, improvement et al). Here’s an example: Republicans Try To Sell Border Security Bills With ‘Little Mermaid,’ Jennifer Lawrence GIFs
Let me try to improve this. Why not, instead of a regular text based release with accompanying visual content – actually make the release in the form of a short video? No more than 45 seconds – encapsulating all the news that needs to essentially be released in the video. Except here you really need to do your storytelling and have a solid plan. This one below isn’t too bad…
Remember 45 seconds of a journalist’s time needs at least 4 to 5 days of prep and research – add to that a day of execution and last but not least P-R-O-O-F it!
Ensuring our organisations speak in clear, plain and meaningful language is vital for the business world. And fashioning out compelling content conducive to action – or leading audiences to making a decision (purchasing, informing, sharing) – can be a daunting task with the multitude of digital services out there today.
Crisp and unmatchable content will drive your organisation to grow in a number of ways. Namely to boost dialogue, build brand awareness, capture data about users and to elevate your social presence.
Yet not every type of content provides a set match to your specific wants and needs.
So here is a short overview of some of the most common kinds of copy and how they can help.
Often the bread and butter of many organisations’ content marketing strategy, custom news stories are a fantastic way of keeping your readers up to date with industry developments and company announcements.
Having monthly, weekly or daily news on your website (and the more frequent the better) ensures your business stays fresh and people keep coming back for more.
Not only does it show that your company is constantly growing, it tells your potential customers that you have your finger on the pulse with industry issues.
How often have you visited a company’s website and seen they’ve not updated their news section since 2009? This comes across poorly and is terrible for improving search rankings.
Whitepapers are authoritative reports or guides that help readers (and potential customers) understand an industry issue or problem – ideally, a problem that your services can solve!
Running into thousands of words and requiring extensive research, whitepapers are designed to show your business as a thought leader in the sector, building trust within your brand.
As whitepapers are usually available as a downloadable file, an added benefit is that you can enhance lead generation by asking people to leave personal details or sign up to your newsletter.
Furthermore, whitepapers can be shared among parties – extending your exposure far beyond its original capacity and reaching new audiences.
Whether you have an interesting weekend hobby or are the head of a multinational organisation, chances are you’ve considered writing a blog.
More often than not, the initial good intentions and enthusiasm for the project fall by the wayside and you can go weeks or even months without posting.
However, businesses that do this risk losing an excellent opportunity to bring a more personable approach to their brand and build an authoritative reputation.
Not every business can utilise whitepapers, and blogs provide a space to give reviews, analyse ongoing industry debates, discuss developments and much more. A well-implemented keyword strategy does all this and boosts your rankings.
As the name suggests, this type of content is put together after interviewing a person of interest to your company.
This can be internal – all the way from the CEO down – or external, such as clients, customers and industry commentators.
The primary benefit of interview-based copy is that you can be certain that it is unique content; written from quotes and information provided by the interviewee rather than taken from a media release or blog.
Not only does this improve your search rankings, it enables you to tackle issues that are most important to your company – which can be particularly useful if your business operates in a sector that is rarely covered in the news.
It can also build relationships with your staff, clients and customers, as they may feel honoured to be given the opportunity to give their views.
This is just a sneak peak at the types of content available as part of a content marketing strategy and there are many more, including press releases, landing pages and social media contributions.
If you are looking for the best combination of content areas for your business, please get in touch with Mesogio. We can help you to build an effective and detailed plan based on original content and your specific requirements.