Pleased To Meet You! How to Network with the Media
Not every person or business needs a PR firm to generate media placements. If your business is new, or your marketing budget is tight, don’t be afraid to embark on your own public relations campaign. When executed strategically and thoughtfully, it is very possible to garner great results.
Below are my recommendations for DIY [P]R in a way that is professional and makes a mark.
- [P]repare: Make a list of the top media outlets you would like to be in. Include magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs. Even consider contacting reputable personalities, such as Bobbie Thomas for example, who are regular segment guests on popular television shows.
- [P]rioritize: Narrow your outreach list so that you are not overwhelmed. Start with your top 15-20 outlets and put your focus there. Quality outreach is more important than quantity outreach. Remember—first impressions are often lasting impressions.
- [P]onder: thoughtfully and diligently study the outlets that you are targeting. Get to know the outlet and the editor(s). What do they write about? What do they feature? What price points are most often included?
- [P]itch: Send a short and clean email sharing the product(s) that meet the needs of the particular editor, blogger, or writer the best. Generally speaking, a Midwestern tone of voice seems to be well-received. Avoid over punctuation. Lengthy, rambling emails will be deleted. Do not over-sell.
- [P]hotograph: Include a few product images shot on white backgrounds with price points and availability. Another great idea is to include a link to a Dropbox gallery where you place a curated group of products. Title each image with the product name and price point. These links are easy for writers to navigate quickly.
- [P]romptly Check-in: Touch base with the writer a week or so following your initial correspondence. Keep it short, sweet and offer to help with any editorial needs they might have.
- [P]atience. After completing steps one through six, here comes the hard part—waiting patiently. Occasionally it might be appropriate to follow-up again, but for the most part only reach out again if you have something new to offer. You might not always receive an immediate response. Oftentimes editors might not have a fit for your particular product or business at that time. But, if you’ve made a good impression you will hopefully be filed away as a potential future fit. Then, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when a mention comes your way.
- [P]ersistence: Diligently adhere to your outreach efforts. Set aside dedicated time each week to outreach so that you will continually fill your funnel with interested media outlets and produce features.
For a more detailed look at self-made PR efforts, I highly recommend Recipe for Press by Amy Flurry. It’s a fast and valuable read. Follow her blog, find her on social media, and purchase her Pitch Wheel. When it comes to media outreach, timing is KEY and Amy’s Pitch Wheel will help make sure your pitches are timely and relevant.