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With thousands of brands fighting for attention both on and offline, it’s now more important than ever to create the right impression when reaching out to the media. This is more apparent when you consider the volume of content on the Internet and the number of sites online in addition to print publications.
Creating the right impression will help you secure media opportunities in targeted places, which in turn will have a positive effect on your marketing campaigns. So, if you are set to conduct outreach as part of your own strategy, take a look at these top tips below aimed towards both local and national media.
Remember, planning is the key to successful outreach.
Journalists are busy people, so you need to make sure you’re not wasting their time. If you go in with the right approach it’s easier to build and maintain relationships, although understandably you have to start somewhere.
There are two types of outreach that you may undertake:
Reactive involves providing content, comments or statements to requests that journalists have already made. In contrast, proactive means that you are actively seeking relevant news stories and targeting your request to the journalist.
Planning will help you with both types of outreach, although you must have a thorough understanding of:
Without this knowledge, your outreach will be no more than a stab in the dark.
Local publications, as their name suggests, focus on publishing content concerned with a local area.
For example, this might be defined by a city, or a wider region, such as a county or the whole of the south of the UK.
First and foremost, your story needs to relate to the area that the publication covers. Outreaching to a regional media source when the news piece is targeted towards a location outside their circumference isn’t going to go down well. The knock-on effect of this could also result in a damaged relationship for any future outreach you carry out.
A good angle for approaching local media is to go in with local stats and data. In this instance, a survey or customer questionnaire is ideal. Alternatively, you might have existing research that’s evergreen and still applicable to use for this purpose.
Local events can also prove to be winning content as they will be targeted and applicable for the audience of the publication. By also giving the journalist the opportunity to attend the event, they can cover it in greater detail and provide images and interviews with attendees and staff for their readers. This adds more value to the story and free tickets can act as an incentive to bring writers and photographers down to obtain the coverage too.
This way they can cover the event in more detail, meaning a day out of the office for the journalist and more exposure for your business and brand.
When contacting the journalist the best approach is to phone.
At this stage you want to provide them with the most important details from what you’ve found – almost like a brief summary.
It’s equally as important to state why this is of value to them and detail your own brand values. Obviously you want to be featured in the publication for brand exposure and awareness, but remember that they have to gain something from the coverage too.
During the call they might ask you to email them with further details, so don’t forget to have these on standby ready to send straight away. This is where it’s important to have a full understanding of the story or idea you are working with before you make contact.
If you’ve done your research and the information you are presenting is targeted, then it’s time to start making those calls and building relationships.
On the whole, you’ll probably find that securing placement in national publications is harder to achieve – but don’t let this put you off the challenge, as it will definitely be worthwhile.
Some nationals and specifically trade publications will relate to a certain industry, such as business, finance, housekeeping or sports and will usually be published on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis as well as online. Other nationals will cover multiple areas of news, such as the BBC, the Huffington Post or The Daily Mail.
As deadlines are stricter for the nationals, you need to act fast for both reactive and proactive requests as soon as a news story breaks or hits the headlines.
This is where your approach needs to be more unique so that there is a greater chance of the journalist publishing your content.
So how do you go about gaining the attention of national press?
Firstly, ask yourself if your content is going to relate to the wider audience. If it’s not then it’s more likely to only be applicable to a local target group.
A comprehensive piece of statistic-based research, which can defined by region and also highlights trends across the UK, is an example of the type of content that will work on a national level.
If these stats also relate to a recent and popular news story that’s been published then you’re onto a winner as it’s 1. targeted, 2. relevant and 3. current. This acts as the perfect way to sell in your own story, although you still have to convince the journalist.
Another tailored approach for nationals is to offer an exclusive or pass on expert knowledge on a niche subject to back up an existing or new article. Samples and free products are also a worthy incentive, but they must relate to the type of content or opportunity that you are trying to secure.
Always think about the audience you are targeting and how your own brand identity can strengthen your PR request and add value to the national publication. This way you are more likely to gain positive results during your outreach.
Think about your pitch before you make contact.
Again, just like local press, national publications are going to be extremely busy, especially if you contact them near to deadline. Therefore, keep you pitch brief and to the point.
The best approach is to call and contact the journalist who writes for your chosen subject field, as opposed to going directly to the editor.
The more information you can provide (if they do request a follow-up email) the better, as it makes their job easier and means they don’t have to invest time chasing you for further details. This could include attached images, quotes, press releases, promotional videos and event information.
It might take time for you to become comfortable with pitching your ideas, but if you really want exposure in the right places then it’s time worth investing in.
With these tips at your disposal, you can start to gain more success from your outreach. Above all else, remember to think about the audience of the publication you’re targeting, why the content you want them to feature is worthy of inclusion, and how you will pitch your idea.
With these elements combined, it’s time to start making and building legitimate media connections and generating coverage for your brand.
If your business doesn’t have the resources or time available to carry out PR outreach for your own marketing campaigns, contact Koozai today to see how we can help.
Images by BigStock Images.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.