We’ve all heard journalists complain about irrelevant story pitches they receive from PR people, and it’s not too hard to imagine how difficult pitching used to be, before all of the real-time social and media intelligence we have at our fingertips. Still, this complaint persists, and it spells opportunity for PR professionals who are willing to change up their pitching game.
We’ve been talking about the agile engagement approach to PR, namely, building audience engagement by blending information gleaned from social media and traditional media real-time to inform media targeting and content strategies. Applying the agile approach can improve your pitching success, too, especially when you re-think how you can use your media database in the process.
- Reflect on the full picture. Journalists, bloggers and other media contacts have stepped outside traditional barriers and are attuned to the media landscape in all its myriad forms, including social media. Be sure to look for the conversations in which they’re taking part and the topics which they’ve recently written about, and extrapolate the key themes that you can address in your pitch and message.
- Address “care-abouts”. What will make your pitch rise above the rest? Relevancy. Once you’ve researched which topics are driving action and attention, craft your message accordingly to maximize its impact.
- Remember that search filters are your friend. As you seek to identify the key contacts to who you’ll want to conduct your outreach, be sure to use the search filters in the media database. Doing so will help you fine-tune your overall results, and will help save time weeding through unnecessary search results.
- Balance the influence scale. There are many types of influencers out there, whether big, medium or small. Each influencer category brings with it its own opportunities and challenges. While a high Klout score may seem ideal, does their follower base align with the audience you want to reach? Use your media database and the valuable intelligence it provides to pull together each piece of the influencer puzzle, including level of influence, number of followers and topics of interest.
- Seize opportunities for engagement. Interaction doesn’t always have to be accompanied by a pitch specifically. Don’t neglect the opportunity to establish a relationship with your media contacts. Did you recently come across a post that a journalist or blogger might find beneficial? Consider tweeting the corresponding link to that contact or e-mailing it to them based on their desired preferences.
Do these practices sound like the traditional rules for pitching? Probably not, but the fact is, our pitching practices need to keep pace with the changes affecting the journalists and bloggers on the receiving end of our emails.
Author Christina Griffo is a member of PR Newswire’s communications team. For more ideas on navigating the new media landscape, read the free white paper, “Modern PR: The Art & Science of Integrated Media Influence.”