You’ve got your PR plan and your press kit, now it’s time to start reaching out to the media. First build a list of media contacts who write about the topics relevant to you and your audience. Then, focus on building relationships with those media contacts.
Members of the media want sources, experts and news stories that are interesting and provide value to their audience. They are eager to befriend anyone who can make their job easier so offer up solid story ideas, resources, photos, videos, infographics, sources (other than yourself), news tips and more, instead of providing relentless self-promotion.
A good adage for approaching the media? You are here to help them. Because when you help them, they’ll be more likely to help you. Once you’ve got that concept down, you can use a variety of tactics to reach them. Here are two:
You can use a media release (aka press release or news release) to pitch a potential story idea to the media. It’s written in a format similar to a news article and includes a headline, dateline, pertinent facts, a quote (usually) and your contact information. Thanks to the digital age, media releases are also used as a tool to reach your audience online. When do you write and send a media release? When you:
- Know how to write in proper media release style and format (or you work with someone who does)
- Have breaking news to announce
- Want to reach customers and clients online
- Work with outlets such as local newspapers or trade publications who may not have the staff to cover your news but are willing to print it
A media pitch is also used to a pitch a potential story idea to the media. You can pitch by email, snail mail or phone, depending on the media contact’s preference and/or urgency of your story. A media pitch is more creative, succinct and persuasive than a media release. While a media release provides details about your news, a media pitch explains why a particular media contact should cover your story. Media pitches and releases can be used separately or together (as long as they’re relevant to each other, of course). When should you pitch the media? When you:
- Want to secure media interviews
- Want to launch or demonstrate a product or service
- Want to react to a relevant news topic because you have an opposing opinion or additional information
- Don’t know how to write a press release and can’t hire someone to write one for you
Check back next week for the next installment of Media Magnet Monday when we discuss using events to attract media attention.