Posted by Paladin on April 27, 2017
A lot has changed in the world of PR pitches. Journalists used to have to look near and far for material to use in publications. Today, influencers and writers may receive dozens of press releases and pitches in their inbox each day. This means that, if they reply back, it may be with proposals for paid media placement. This may not be in your budget, but you may be able to connect influencers with the marketing or advertising department instead. There are earned media providers, but it may take a bit more time and effort to reach them. There is no single secret to earned media coverage, but there are five items that you need to keep in mind when reaching out.
Remember that you are asking them to help you.
When you send out a request for earned media coverage, you are asking that individual to spend time on your behalf without pay. If you receive a response back asking for compensation, do not get insulted. Understand where they are coming from and explain that you may be able to provide product. Do not insult them or disrespect their time if they decline. If you push too much and they agree to write, it may be disingenuous or unflattering, because their heart isn’t in it. You must also remember that with earned media, you cannot insist that certain words, phrases, or links are included. If you have any “musts” on your list for coverage, it becomes unearned media, and compensation needs to be provided.
Recognize their reputation and influence.
Take time to let the individual know why he or she is important to you. You are sending a press release about a product you hope they will cover. You appreciate their reputation and influence and hope that they will vouch for your product. Many times, they may not be willing to vouch for something unless they have actually tried it. They are protecting their integrity and influence with that statement, so be sure to respect it.
Be passionate but relatable in your communications.
Take time to craft an email and pitch that will get the influencer’s attention. Your press release may be the first time that they have heard of your brand. Make them want to invest their time and energy in getting to know the product or place. Suggest an angle that makes sense with what they write about on their website.
Answer questions that are directed to you after the pitch.
Some writers may have questions about the angle of your pitch. They may like the product or charity that you are supporting. However, before they are willing to share, they may need clarification on some points. Keep it simple and reply to their inquiries. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to work with you in present and future promotions.
Include important social media information.
All initial communication with earned media providers should include your social media handles and hashtags to be used when reporting. This is expected and helps them to be able to share in a way that you will be able to track later on. Most influencers will not want to take the time to create links for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or other mediums. This keeps it easy for everyone from the first message sent.
Earned media providers are still out there, but it may take more time to actively engage them in your brand. The key to getting them is to work on relationship building. When you get to know the individuals, they will reach out to help you within the PR community.