2020 has shaped up to be quite a year. I think many of us have some choice words to describe this rollercoaster ride. One word that comes to mind is shifting.
Businesses and schools have had to shift how they operate. Parents have taken on a new role as teachers, college students are learning from their dorms instead of lecture halls, and the media has shifted its attention to strictly COVID and the election.
As COVID and the election continue to dominate the news cycle, how do you get press coverage?
It’s all about shifting how and where you pitch.
While the mainstream media is doing wall to wall coverage on these two issues, hundreds of media outlets are still looking for stories. Stories that you can most likely be part of. Here’s how!
Focus on Industry Media
Media outlets in your industry are not as focused on the election or COVID as the mainstream media. However, they are doing stories surrounding those topics, but it’s more specific to the publication and their audience. For example, a health and wellness publication may do a story on ways to de-stress during these times. Or foods that we should be eating to boost our immune system during COVID and flu season. If you are in the health and wellness space, this is something that you should think about when pitching your stories.
COVID and the election aside, the media in your industry is still publishing hundreds of stories that are focused on other topics. This is your opportunity to get your story told or be quoted as an expert in your industry. Forget being on the Today Show, for now- and focus on getting as much press coverage in smaller, industry-focused media.
Start building a list of your industry media outlets, gather the editor’s email, and pitch away. Make sure to keep your pitch short, simple, and easy to understand. And of course, create an attention-grabbing headline. I have all of this information, pulse how to write the perfect pitch and headlines in my PR Crash Course. Click here to learn more.
If you are pitching yourself as an expert to the media compile a few story ideas that include stats, studies, trends, or recent news items that you can weigh in on. For example, write an email introducing yourself with a link to your website and let the journalist know that you are an expert in a particular industry, and include a few story suggestions with your talking points.
Think Like a Journalist
I can’t tell you how many pitches that I’ve received and they do not have anything to do with what our viewers would want. For example, I received a pitch for a cooking segment on Newsmax’s morning show. 1- The studio doesn’t even have a kitchen. 2- The morning show format is strictly hard news and politics. This would not be the right fit for this show. And it appears as if the publicist didn’t take the time to research the show.
When journalists receive a pitch they are thinking things like, “Why would my reader or viewer care about this story? What’s in for them? What will they learn? How can this help them? And does this align with our audience?”
You have to put yourself in the mind of the journalist and take yourself out of the pitch. We all think that our brand is the best and everyone needs to know about it, but a press pitch is not a sales pitch. It’s all about the story.
When you are crafting your pitch, pretend that you the journalist and the reader or viewer. I guarantee your pitch will change when you do this.
Write. Contribute. Create Content
The media is a 24/7 business and their goal is to put out as much content as possible. Many media outlets have made cuts and that has opened the doors for freelance journalists and contributing writers. This is a great opportunity for you! You have the chance to share your expertise in an article that you can control the content and narrative for a major media outlet. Simply go on the media outlet’s website and see what the requirements are to be a contributing writer.
Another way to get your message out to the public is to write your own blog and share it on all of your social media platforms. Just like contributing, this is a great way to show your expertise and provide people with valuable information.
Remember, public relations is not just about getting on TV or appearing in a digital publication. You can gain credibility in multiple ways including writing your own content, creating videos, and being present and engaged on social media.
During these times of uncertainty, it’s important to focus on shifting your thoughts and strategy to ensure that you stay on top.
Let me know what ways you plan on shifting your media strategy for the rest of 2020!