THE YOURS . SINCERELY BLOG

Do and don’ts when pitching to the press

Perhaps you’re a well-established business seeking investment and need a public relations agency to take your media outreach to the next level, or you’re a start-up and want to do more to amp up the noise around your brand. Whichever stage you’re at, both require a close understanding of what journalists are looking for, and the inside knowledge of how to pitch to the press correctly. Public relations can be a long, hard process – devising a release that grabs attention, finding the relevant journalists, pitching to the right media platforms and following up. However, there are some key dos and don’ts to bare in mind to ensure your pitch cuts through the noise and delivers the targeted news coverage you want.

1. Don’t tailor your pitch to publications, find relevant journalists

This is a big one, but irrelevant press releases are still a common complaint by those in the media. The last thing any journalist wants is to receive a pitch on a topic they have never written about, or even worse, an auto-generated message which has been sent to a huge range of publications on a media list. They will undoubtedly see through it. The best PR pitches will be tailored to the background of the journalist, and later, the concerns of the larger media platforms they work for.

A mass mailing will water down the story you are pitching, and subsequently the coverage that follows. Journalists will often want exclusivity on stories, and online saturation of your news will dilute their version of your news in search engine results. You want to find journalists that have a lot of pull with a niche audience, and your PR staff or agency should operate with a media targeted distribution list that takes into consideration the specialities of a particular writer.

2. Don’t puff up your press release – be concise and stick to the facts 

It is the journalist’s job to write the story and select what to feature, so it’s in your interest to avoid wasting time by writing your release in prose, and instead, stick to the facts. Focus on communicating across the Five W’s: who, what, when, why and where. This will make the journalist’s job a lot easier as they do not have to sieve through to locate the facts. An effective pitch to press will include an intro, why you’re pitching to this specific journalist, the story (think about why it’s relevant, why it’s newsworthy and why it will benefit the journalist to cover it), ask for their interest level and include how to reach you. The journalist will take it from there. 

3. Do give them plenty of lead time and consider their workload 

Waiting until the last minute doesn’t work for most journalists. If you have a big news story, it is a good idea to give the journalist a heads up, allowing them to make time for your release. This can be done informally through email or via embargo, whereby you give the details ahead of time but restrict the journalist from making it public until a certain date. 

Journalists work full time too and a quality article can take a day if not longer to write. Giving them plenty of lead time will ensure your news is covered and covered properly. The writer will also appreciate your consideration, strengthening the relationship for future pitches.

4. Don’t use another publication’s coverage as a news hook  

News Hooks are a great way of strengthening your pitch, but journalists don’t want to hear another publication beat them to breaking your story. If anything, it is a turn off. They will have wished you contacted them first and will move onto the next story. Instead, be strategic and link it to a wider conversation in the news.

5. Do build a rapport with journalists before pitching 

Journalists are people too and people respond best to people. Before you pitch to them, it’s important to engage with them and build a relationship. 64% of writers think it’s important to establish a personal connection before pitching.

Successful media outreach is all about relationships. Whether you reach out to them on social, via twitter or LinkedIn, or invite them for a coffee, your best chance of coverage will hinge upon your relationship with them. You will be able to pitch news they’re actually interested in and they’ll be more inclined to read your pitch and cover it.

6. Don’t just sit back after the story is covered

Once an article has been published about your company, product or service, use your platform to increase its reach. Post a link to the story in your News section online or craft a blog post about the article. Alternatively, update your social channels with the coverage and get your following engaged in the story. Press coverage is way more than just that; it’s a talking point, an opportunity to shout about your company, so exhaust it in whatever way you can. 

Equally, make sure your relationship with the journalist doesn’t end there. Follow up with a courtesy email as well as details on where you have chosen to share it, and ask for a list of upcoming news topics that you could be interested in pitching for. 

Increasing your press outreach is a great way to take your business or start-up to the next level and build the reputation of your brand. But, public relations is no easy task, and one purely based on relationships. So if you follow some or all of these tips, you will find your communication – and all round relationship – with the press will improve. Likewise, if you’re on the lookout for an PR agency to ramp up your press coverage and start shaping external perceptions of your organisation, drop us an email or give us a call. 

YOURS . SINCERELY, the team

2020 is going to be an incredibly exciting year for us at YOURS . SINCERELY. From new office plans, to delivering some big projects, and getting great results for our clients, we can’t wait for what the year has in store. But what better way to kick-off our 2020 blog, than by introducing our fantastic, and always growing, team who fuel the agency on a day-to-day basis.

Amy

What do you do at YOURS . SINCERELY?  I’m one of the founders. I’m working to grow the business, make sure we create a strong culture for our wonderful team and keep our lovely clients happy

Favourite part about role? Seeing the team grow and develop is right up there, a happy team leads to happy clients in my view

What do you thrive at? I’m a huge perfectionist which sometimes can be frustrating but I think I thrive at ensuring the quality of our work is consistently of a high standard. I also love crafting messaging for businesses, pouring over words and flow and making sure we bring brands to life through our content

What inspires you OR what’s important to you? Driving our values and culture are my biggest passion. I’m inspired by our team and our clients who are often brave, breaking new ground in their sectors and keeping us on our toes

How would you describe YOURS . SINCERELY in 3 words? Flexible, honest, ambitious

Dream client? There’s no such thing. . . . I’ve previously worked on brands that, as a consumer, I idolised but getting under the skin of them ruined that magic. The truth is the dream client is more about behaviours and attributes, such as how much they view you as a partner, how collaborative and challenging they will be, how you celebrate the wins and work through the lows

Most useful work tip? Do the hardest thing first in your day.

Dom

What do you do at YOURS . SINCERELY? As a founder, it’s important to me that everything is working well and everyone we work with is getting exactly what they need, when they need it. It’s also incredibly important that the team is happy and we are really living our values

 Favourite part about role? The variety

What do you thrive at? Doing fifteen things at once. Also, I love the creative side of things and coming up with crazy campaign ideas

What inspires you? Is it too boring to say results? Ok, results. But also wine (ideally with bubbles in it from the North of France)

How would you describe YOURS . SINCERELY in 3 words?  Somewhere I love to work

Dream client? All of them!! But seriously, it’s also about the personal relationships and working with people you love to work with. We are very lucky with our clients in this regard

Most useful work tip? Do what you love. And work with people you genuinely like. It’s not quite true that you’ll then never ‘work’ a day in your life, but at least you’ll have fun on the way.

Liam

What do you do at YOURS . SINCERELY? I am an Account Manager, and I am the first and main point of contact for the accounts I work on. I provide consultancy to clients, while developing PR plans and ensuring all planned activity is completed

Favourite part about role? The variety of working across a number of different clients in different sectors. You have to be aware of the media landscape and news agenda across a wide range of topics, making sure you know how to best advice your clients

What do you thrive at? I like to think I have a nose for a good story. I can spot a gap in the media to where a client could fit and get to tell their story

What inspires you? I love to travel. I have been fortunate enough to travel a fair bit in my life so far, but am always on the hunt for the next destination.

How would you describe YOURS . SINCERELY in 3 words? Energetic, honest, varied

Dream client? Glastonbury or Chelsea FC

Most useful working tip? Always read the morning news

Beth

What role do you do at YOURS . SINCERELY? I’m a Junior Account Executive and support the team to ensure we meet and exceed clients’ expectations in the delivery of their marketing and PR strategy, with a big focus on social media and email campaigns

Favourite part about role? I like how much my role changes on a day-to-day basis. One minute I’m scheduling the social for a visual effects studio, and the next I’m drafting a newsletter creative for an award-winning Fintech app. I’m always learning something new or getting my head into an aspect of comms I’ve not done before

What do you thrive at? I’ve always been a writer and really enjoy getting my head into a piece of content for a client. However, at YOURS. SINCERELY, I’ve also discovered my eye for digital marketing and ability to see a campaign through from the creative process to reporting

What inspires you? History. I love a bit of social history and reading about how people have rallied together to make positive change. Second, would have to be fashion

How would you describe YOURS . SINCERELY in 3 words? Fun, driven, people-focused

Dream client? ASOS or a charity for disadvantaged young people

Most useful work tip? Write a list for everything.

Hollye

What do you do at YOURS . SINCERELY? I’m an Associate, so I lead day-to-day activity on accounts, develop a strong working relationship with our clients and make sure we’re delivering exactly what’s expected.

Favourite part about role? We have such a huge variety of clients from national charities and flood modellers to special effects companies so every day is something different. You get to immerse yourself in a range of different industries so I’m always learning something

What do you thrive at? I’m a former journalist so I love to write and chat! Building client relationships is also really important to me

What inspires you OR what’s important to you?  I’m a mum of two young kids, so it was always really important to me to work somewhere that shared my values around flexibility and work/life balance. The culture at YOURS . SINCERELY is completely unique and genuinely puts the team first

How would you describe YOURS . SINCERELY in 3 words?  Fun, flexible, different

Dream client? I worked with Channel 4 leading the campaign to promote their coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and they were incredible – they had a clear sense of brand direction, they were brave, unafraid to challenge the status quo, and they trusted us as an agency to deliver what was right. And most importantly, I really felt like we made a difference with the campaign, changing public perception of disability

Most useful work tip? I love a good list, so my tip would be to keep track of daily jobs with a detailed to-do list. It gives you a sense of satisfaction when you can tick things off and makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere. And with big projects or tasks, break them down into smaller sections so they feel less overwhelming.

Want to join our wonderful team? We’re on the hunt for the next recruit to join our adventure with us! Drop us a line at careers@yourssincerely.online