Tips for targeted media pitches

Media relations, either done yourself or through an agency, requires a strategic focus. Ask yourself why you want media coverage? Do you want to reach the largest audience or do you want to reach a local community? Are you going for the most publicity or one with a distinct audience?

Ask yourself these questions before beginning a media relations campaign, as each media presents its unique set of strengths and obstacles.

The following list outlines what you need to know about the different media channels when planning a media relations campaign. I recommend that you use this list as a primer to help you decide which media outlet is best suited for your particular business.

Print media

  • Reaches a large audience
  • Photos, logos and other graphics add to your story
  • Written stories allow your words to be carefully chosen and measured
  • You have a talented journalist helping to tell your story
  • Promotional ads with a contest element
  • Other promotional possibilities – websites, newspaper promotional material giveaways like bags and pens, ad space for shared booth space at an event for them to sell subscriptions

Community Newspapers

  • You should get to know everyone on the staff
  • Contact the staff regularly
  • Community papers are the best way to reach audiences
  • Can reach a specific, targeted consumer
  • Are usually weekly publications, allowing the reader more time to consume your piece
  • Local print media are highly trusted by the local population
  • Smallest newspaper circulates less than 1,000 newspapers
  • Largest circulates more than 100,000 newspapers
  • National household penetration 70%
  • Higher reach than any other medium
  • 79% of adults read last weekday issue of their community newspaper
  • 53% read yesterday’s weekday daily newspaper
  • 27% of the readers are exclusive
  • Community newspapers are in virtually every community
  • Integral part of the community
  • Localness and usefulness not limited to editorial pages
  • Readers closely identify with stories in community papers
  • Build Relationships with the Staff:
    • Get to know everyone on the staff
    • Contact them regularly

Daily Newspapers

  • More regional than community papers.
  • Get to know specific beat reporters in your area of interest and expertise.
  • Pitch one reporter at a time.
  • Learn columnists’ work.
  • Provide great photos.
  • Make regular contact.
  • Build Relationships with the Staff:
    • Get to know specific beat reporters in your area of interest and expertise
    • Pitch one reporter at a time
    • Learn columnists’ work
    • Provide great photos
    • Make regular contact

 Radio

  • Allows your voice to be heard! Tell your own story!
  • The interviews are often longer and allow you a lot of time to pitch your business
  • The interviewer can create a great dialogue that can naturally sell your business without it sounding too pitchy
  • You’re able to have notes placed in front of you
  • You can expect two-for-one ad buys over getting a rate discount.
  • Radio shows often have pre-produced promotional spots for sale. These usually involve a promotion being done by the program. They are extremely valuable because they provide prizes, which will attract more listeners.
  • Traffic or News sponsorship: These are five-to-ten second acknowledgements that happen between programs or music
  • Community cruiser mentions
  • The DJ can do live-liners for your business that are live on-air announcements.
  • Local, regional and national audience
  • Reach specific audience via specific stations or programs
  • Interviews can be a better way to promote your brand then advertisements –and it’s free!
  • Build Relationships with the Staff:
    • Pitch news director or assignment editor
    • Pitch talk show producers
    • Be ready to be interviewed on the spot
    • Speak in sound bites
    • Be lively — even in the pre-interview
    • Offer to drop by in person
    • Timing is crucial

Television

  • Reach a broad audience
  • The most visual and lively outlet
  • Stories have a visual component and impact
  • The audience can see your enthusiasm and passion
  • You can show your product off to the audience
  • You add a voice and a face to your business and story
  • TV allows you to reach a broad audience
  • When pitching, your story must have a visual impact. Is there a setting to your story you can promote? A person? An event?
  •  Immediacy is key! If you have a recent event or change in your business you must pitch it NOW! If you wait a few months the story may too old for television.
  •  When preparing your pitch, think of the pictures and sounds that would accompany it. You need to sell the style as much as the substance!
  •   Make sure to let the producer know that your are available for any interviews or for assistance.
  •  If you are going to do an interview, don’t do it in your office! Find a setting that will attract the audience and add to your story.
  • Fill the producer and anyone else involved on all details. Don’t assume that they know the subject.
  • If the interview is being recorded, look the interviewer in the yet and not the camera.
  • Don’t be stoic on screen, it makes you look robotic and dull. Show your feelings!
  • Don’t wear bright whites or busy patterns! It looks bad onscreen and will distract the audience.
  • When pitching, make yourself and your story available before noon. Stories in the afternoon will be difficult for journalists to cover.
  • Build Relationships with the Staff:
    • Prepare your pitch – think good pictures and sound
    • Availability in person is key
    • Don’t do interviews in your office – find a compelling setting
    • Don’t assume the news team knows the subject
    • On camera — look the interviewer in the eye not the camera
    • Show your feelings
    • Don’t wear bright whites or busy patterns
    • Timing is crucial — anything scheduled after noon will be difficult for them to cover
    • Mondays and weekends offer more opportunities

As illustrated, each media outlet has its benefits. Honestly, each type of media is great for publicity! However, your story may be more attractive to particular media outlets, so it’s important to know what different media are looking for. If your business has a product that looks great on TV like a summer clothing line or new menu item then TV outlets will find your story very enticing. Likewise, if you have a great story to tell and are a natural storyteller, than a radio producer would love to have you on their show! Print media usually have their stories online and have highly targeted and loyal audiences.