Posted by Margaret Gerber on Jul 09, 2010
Using outlets like helpareporter.com or ProfNet, it’s possible for a small business to get national media attention– without the help (and cost) of a publicist.
Once you’ve identified an opportunity to respond to a journalist’s request for leads, it’s important to send a well-crafted pitch as soon as possible.
Here are the five steps you can take to ensure your pitch will get the attention of the media!
1. Be First
Both Help a Report (HARO) and ProfNet send out emails several times a day. Get familiar with the mailing schedule, and be sure to check your inbox as soon as possible after new emails go out. If you are among the first businesses to contact a journalist, your chances of getting noticed go way up!
2. Use Twitter
Many journalists, including the people behind HARO, use Twitter to communicate a journalistic need that can’t wait for the next email. By following these sources on Twitter, you could find out about a major media opportunity that only hundreds (instead of thousands) of people know about!
3. Follow Directions
If the journalist asks for a particular subject line to be used in your pitch email, for example, do so. Don’t deviate from specific requests regarding the content or format of a pitch, or your email may end up unread and in their trash.
4. Get to Your Point
Open your email with why you are the best candidate for the media opportunity. Provide specific examples of your expertise or qualifications, and don’t ramble on points that are off-topic or vague. Provide as many tips and commentary as you can in your message; many journalists won’t have time to circle back around to you and may appreciate being able to pull quotes directly from your email.
5. Be Available
If you aren’t going to be in the office for several days after your email, be sure you provide another phone number you can be reached at for follow up questions or interviews. Likewise, be sure that you offer more than one method of communication (phone, email, Skype, etc.) If a journalist can’t reach you, they will move on to the next qualified lead.
Be confident and polite in your response to media professionals, and they’ll be more likely to take you and your small business seriously. Your next big media mention may just be an email away!