A while back I wrote about How to Build Your Own Media List. Whether you build your own or buy a list, here are three tips that will help you maximize your chances of getting PR and avoiding media pet peeves.
1. DO A BIT OF RESEARCH – even if a paid media list is customized to your product or service, it’s usually based on keywords only – the more generic your key words, the more possible contacts you will pull. Which is why an unqualified media list can have hundreds or a thousand names that you pay for, with only a handful of reporters actually appropriate to you. If a magazine or media outlet sounds interesting, check out their website to see if there is an appropriate section or column where your company could be covered.
As you scan the print or online publication, think about:
• Are they interested in product reviews, book reviews, fashion or trends?
• Is there a giveaway/contest, guest articles, a CEO profile, inclusion in their gift guide that you can contribute to?
• Are they a Print publication or Online website? Often there is a way to get included in their newsletter for subscribers.
If you can look at the last couple of articles an editor wrote, you can refer to it in your pitch (if appropriate). Knowing what they are writing about will help you stand out. By individually tailoring your pitch, you don’t come across as a spammer! Doing a bit of research will also tap your creative juices and you’ll learn what works best in your pitching.
2. CONTACT EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS – if you’re terrified of pitching the media by phone, editorial assistants are valuable connections! They usually work for print publications and the best way to describe them are ‘editors in training’ – if there is an editorial assistant listed, they may be the friendliest to a pitch as they forward it on to appropriate editors and are usually more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Do remember that just because they are called assistants doesn’t mean they don’t research and write their own stories. Also, an editorial assistant does move up to become an associate editor and maybe even editor-in-chief one day. If you maintain your contacts well, they’ll remember you.
3. REMEMBER EDITORS WEAR MULTIPLE HATS – some reporters/editors cover a certain beat, but also contribute to other magazines and maybe even have their own blog. Find the right avenue to reach them by reading their profile. You never know where things will lead – the most important thing to remember is to establish a relationship even if you don’t get publicity right away. Keep an open mind. By being resourceful, creative and persistent, you will be surprised at what comes your way when you start building some buzz for your business.
If you’re a mom entrepreneur wanting to jumpstart getting PR with no time to waste, do check out my media list for moms with hundreds of reporters here. I won’t be doing an updated list for 2010, so this is your last chance to get a copy. You can download a free sample from the page if you’d like to see what it looks like.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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