Striking The Right Note: 5 Tips On How To Win a Journalist Over With Your Content
As a PR Assistant at Kaizen, my role revolves around contacting journalists, establishing a connection with them and ultimately getting our content featured on their site. Simple, right?
The reality is, journalists from major publications receive hundreds of emails a day, pitching them great, good and completely irrelevant content, that they have to meticulously filter through to find something suitable for their niche and audience. The level of content they receive means that some get simply unopened and ignored.
Content Marketing is a rapidly growing industry, so the need to maintain contacts, extend your outreach and fight for those all-important placements is only going to get harder.
In this blog post, I’ll give 5 tips from my own experience of achieving featured content in the likes of Business Insider, Marie Claire and Shortlist, to hopefully inspire you with how to get the best out of your outreach.
- Evaluate Your Content and Choose Three Relevant Niches
The best content is engaging for around 2-3 types of audience, as this doesn’t limit it to extremely specific sites, but is also on-topic enough to provide new information. For our recent campaign for TUI UK, entitled “Desserts Around the World With the Highest Calories,” I chose to outreach to my food, travel and lifestyle contacts, as they were the most likely to be interested, and therefore the most likely to publish the campaign.
- Filter Your Contact List Carefully
It’s so important that before you send out a press release, you research the journalist first – what they write about, how often and whether they feature the type of content you’re outreaching (infographics, videos, quizzes etc). This also gives you the opportunity to personalise your email to them, by showing how well you understand their audience or personal interests.
- Be As Helpful As Possible
I have personalised emails, re-written the infographic, and edited images on photoshop all for the same journalist, but it’s worth it to gain reliable contacts. With so many press releases in their inboxes every day, journalists can afford to be picky, so like it or not, it’s the PR team’s job to make sure the process of posting your company’s campaign goes as smoothly as possible for them.
- Keep Your Email Pitch Short and Snappy
There’s nothing worse than being faced with a wall of text, especially for a stressed journo who just wants to quickly pick out the main points. I keep the email only a few lines long, but attach the press release and ensure they know that the full data set is available upon request. Make them feel comfortable contacting you if they have any questions about it, and keep them wanting more.
- Be Patient!
Outreaching can take time, whether it’s streamlining your contact list, answering a journalist’s questions or waiting for them to publish your content (and this can feel like years). Instead of panicking and trying to overcompensate with extra, less relevant contacts, stay confident in your campaign and build conversations about your work with journalists you know will be interested. The end result will be fewer annoyed journalists and better, more in-depth coverage of your campaign.
I hope you find these tips helpful – if you want to respond to any of these suggestions, or add your own, please leave a comment below!
Casey Paul, 17/10/2017