Good news, everyone! Getting earned media just got a little bit harder. Magazine publisher Time Inc.'s revenue woes continue. "Smelling blood, potential acquirers have been circling the company for months," according to a report in the New York Times. The pool of full-time journalists may soon get a little shallower.
Mary Baker, senior public relations manager at best practice insight and technology company CEB, and Ashley Hennings, head of PR at fitness start-up ClassPass, share effective pitching tips below:
Keep it short, sweet and clear. (Bulletpoints are your friend!) Regarding email formatting, Baker says: "I often use bulleted lists in my email pitches if I have a lot of data points/insights to share or if I’m trying to show that my expert can speak to a variety of topics. Not only do bullets catch the eye, but they help a reporter know the data we’re offering and exactly what we can speak to on the topic."
Be honest with your subject lines. "You want to be sure that you have a subject line that entices journalists to open your email, but you also can’t be misleading," advises Baker. "I try to put myself in the shoes of a journalist who receives hundreds of pitches a day and think about which email I would open based on subject line alone," Baker says.
Don't wait until you have news to engage with press on social. "Take the time to cultivate and build relationships so that when you do have something to pitch they will be more receptive," Hennings says. Be consistent about reposting and engaging with the target journalist's content over the long term so your pitch doesn't come entirely out of left field.
Lead with insights and use data to be provocative. "[At CEB], we produce research across a variety of topics and the insights we develop enable us to take an authoritative position—even when it might be contrary to what others are saying—because we have the data to back it up. We find a lot of success when pitching journalists with our research and/or thought leadership because of this unique position we own," says Baker.
Social is a critical component of crisis communications. "There comes a day when everyone has to deliver bad news, so think through what other marketing channels are at your disposal to support your PR strategy and goals," Hennings advises. In other words, social media might be your best option when "pitching" a crisis response to the media—often, journalists will head straight to an organization's official Twitter or Facebook page when a major crisis story breaks.
Follow Mary: @Mary_CEBNews
Follow Ashley: @arhennings