Three Easy Tips for Maximizing Your Media Outreach
By Lauren Trieschmann
We’re going to start by stating the obvious: Media relations is an integral part of a successful public relations strategy. Most PR professionals engage in some form of media outreach daily, whether it’s sending a quick check-in note to a writer, distributing a press release to hundreds of contacts, or anything in between.
While this can start to feel like second nature after a while, it’s important to make your communications stand out so they don’t get lost in the mix – especially when reaching out to a contact who’s receiving hundreds of pitches daily.
Here are three simple tips to keep in mind while drafting your next pitch:
1. Do your homework.
Before sending any pitch, it’s essential to do your research to ensure the contacts you’re reaching out to are in fact the right fit for the story or angle in question. Browse through their recent work on Muck Rack or a similar media monitoring platform to make sure it’s in line with what you’re pitching before hitting send. Better yet, personalize your pitch by referencing one of their recent bylines or a topic they specialize in.
It’s also a good practice to keep up with relevant media contacts on social media. Today, many journalists (especially freelancers) use social media and platforms like Substack, which makes it easy to communicate with PR professionals via e-newsletter updates, to share what they’re working on and source information for upcoming stories. Keeping a close eye on these opportunities is a great way to strengthen your media relations game.
2. Start with a strong subject line.
Let’s face it: A boring or vague subject line won’t get you very far. In fact, it could very well get your pitch deleted straight away. Instead, try writing your subject line the same way a journalist writes a headline. Keep it concise yet engaging, incorporating key words and phrases that will pique the recipient’s interest and encourage them to open the email to learn more – just like you might be enticed to read an article with an attention-grabbing headline vs. a drab one.
Tailor the subject line to the contact you’re pitching whenever possible, referencing a relevant article they wrote or a specific beat they cover. If your pitch includes data, infographics, or an offer to receive product samples, state this in the subject line (more on that below).
3. Include data and brand assets to paint a complete picture.
According to Cision’s 2023 State of the Media Report, 68% of journalists said they wanted to receive data in the form of original research, such as trends and market data. When asked how PR professionals can help make their jobs easier, 66% of journalists responded with “provide data and expert sources.” Including data from credible sources in your pitch is a simple way to grab the recipient’s attention, while saving them the step of having to source this data on their own.
The Cision report also makes a strong case for including multimedia assets – such as photography, b-roll, infographics, and more – in pitches and press releases, with 27% of journalists stating that providing multimedia in pitches and press releases is one of the top ways PR professionals can “make their lives easier.” If you choose to supply multimedia, just keep in mind that sharing these assets via a link is generally preferred over sending an attachment, which can take up storage in your outbox and the recipient’s inbox, and make it more likely for your message to be flagged as spam.
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