If you have been thinking about how to write a media pitch in 2021, then this episode is just what you need. Arden McLaughlin is here to talk all about how to write a media pitch to your local news and how to make sure you get the attention your story deserves.
IE 226: How to Write a Media Pitch for Local Publicity with Arden McLaughlin
Arden is the owner and founder of Definita, a publicity firm focused on helping you define yourself and your business in a cluttered marketplace.
Arden does this in two ways: the first is by working one-on-one with customers who want Arden to provide them with press opportunities, and secondly, by teaching business owners how to get their press on their own.
Knowing Your People and Their Media Presence
When it comes to pitching to the media, the very first place you have to start is, as always, knowing your audience. You have to know who they are and what you want them to do with your media pitch.
When you address anyone in the media, whether it is traditional media like television or another medium such as podcasting, you have to know who you are addressing and if they will be utilizing that medium.
If you are writing a magazine article but your ideal person never opens a magazine, you are not only wasting your time, but you are missing out on an opportunity to serve your person. If you are on television but your person doesn’t even own a TV, you need to start utilizing other forms of media.
Understanding The Who, Why, and How
Find out where your audience is hanging out, and show up there.
You have to understand your goal before you go to your person. You need to know who you’re addressing, why you’re approaching them, and how you’re going to address them.
If you know these things, you can pitch yourself to the right media channel, knowing that you will be received well by the audience.
Know Your Why
The next important piece to media pitching is understanding why you want the press.
If you invented the remote control, that’s a cool story. If you wrote a book four years ago and haven’t done anything since then, unfortunately, that will not captivate an audience.
Think about why you want the press and find a niche that fits.
Practicing For a Home Run
When you pitch to the media, you want to get a home run every time. That is going to take tons of practice.
People pitch to the media all the time. There is nothing special about saying that you love their work and want to be featured. Hundreds of other people also said that.
The media needs to know that you can speak well and clearly in a two-minute sound byte, that you know your product, and that their audience will receive it well.
Sending Your Pitch Email
When you send the initial email, you have to hit your person in the first few sentences. You need to target who it will benefit, what the benefit is, and how it will benefit that person.
You want to make your pitch super clear and easy to read and understand. Utilize bullet points or headers that make your Who and How super easy to see.
Use larger print than you normally would. Arden uses a 14-type font when doing her media pitches. The people you are pitching to read media pitches all day, you want yours to be the one that pops out to them.
Make sure you always spell everything correctly in your emails when pitching.
Your subject is going to be what grabs attention, so don’t make it cute or clever. Make it very clear what you are offering to them and their audience. Something like “Please Read: My book benefits women ages 35-60.”
Even if your subject line is long, that’s okay. It should be long and get your point across rather than be generic and not get opened.
Build a Relationship And Show Support
We talk about it all the time: it is necessary to build a relationship when you are wanting to do business with someone. Media pitching is no exception.
If you know you are wanting to be on your local news, reach out to them. If they have a segment you enjoyed, email them and let them know you enjoyed it and what stuck out to you.
If there is a podcast that you want to be a guest on, send a review and an email sharing what episodes have impacted you and how. Share the podcast on your social media platforms.
Show that you are interested in building the relationship and supporting the other person. You don’t want to take them and their hard work for granted, especially if you want to work with them.
Have a Clean Slate With The Media
When you show up prepared and you overdeliver, you can count on the media wanting you to come back.
If you want to pitch to the media, make sure that you are not talking badly about media on your social media accounts. Someone will eventually see that and feel attacked.
Most of the people working in the media are just normal people who love their job and what they do. They are dependent on people reading and watching. When we talk badly about them and their job, it is hurtful and won’t make them welcome us in with open arms.
Make sure you are not causing any rifts with anybody. You want to have a clean slate with anyone you decide to pitch to.
Paid Vs. Earned Media
If you are curious about where to start when it comes to pitching, the best place to start is your local news station. Most of them have websites that you can go on to find story ideas, as well as learn more about your favorite anchor.
While the anchors are not always the ones who decide which stories end up being shared, they are always a good place to start. You can contact them and share that you enjoy watching them and ask who makes the final decision about pitched ideas.
Look at your newspapers. Most of them also have an online platform you can access.
There are two types of media: paid media and earned media. Arden advises that you never pay for media. If you’re trying to get a one-time story about a book you wrote, an event coming up, etc., you don’t want to have to pay for 6-months of ads to share that story.
You can also reach out to a PR representative and ask to buy a list from them of names and emails they have of people you might be able to pitch your idea to.
If you aren’t able to spend money on one of those lists, you can learn so much by watching, listening, and searching social media. Arden teaches her clients all the time to pay attention to their local TV station.
You gain so much more information by watching local news than you do by scrolling on Facebook. Retrain your time to be able to do your research.
The Best Way to Follow-up
The best practices when it comes to following up on a media pitch are this:
- Wait a few days before reaching out.
- Change up the subject line to something like “Did you see this?” or “RE: *insert previous subject line*”
- Send that email every few days two or three times.
Even if you get ignored, at least you didn’t miss out on an opportunity. It might be that someone missed your email because they were out of the office or sick or just didn’t see it.
Give them multiple opportunities to see your pitch.
Make It Specific
You need to make sure you tweak your emails. Don’t send the same email to every media outlet.
Make it clear how you can impact their specific audience. This shows them that you know who their audience is and that you aren’t generically addressing all people.
The more bread crumbs you drop for these media pitches, the better. Don’t worry if someone doesn’t pick up your pitch or isn’t interested. Rest in the fact that someone will be interested in what you have to offer.
Live in Positivity
You have to watch what you are saying at all times. Do the best you can to be positive and live in abundance.
Living in positivity looks great for your public image. Your public image should be a reflection of your relationships.
Be nice to others and about others when you are talking about them around your town or on your social media.
What To Do After You Get Your Media Clip
Once you have your media clip, talk about it on your social media. Share your experience, what you learned, and how fun it was.
Get a copy of the clip and keep sharing it. Tag the people who were also part of the clip. Put it on your website. The more press you get, the more press you will continue to get. As you build your portfolio, you will be able to gain press in larger avenues.
You can share your media clips without bragging or giving people a bad taste in their mouths. You can be excited, gracious, and humble while sharing your experience and showing gratitude toward those who helped you.
This shows the outlet that you worked with that you are a lovely person to work with. And the nicer you are, the more they will want you to come back.
Arden’s PR Club
Arden has provided one month free to my listenersfor her PR club. In the PR club, you will join others for a one-hour zoom call each month to chat about PR.
You will be able to join Arden’s Facebook group that is full of past and current clients, and where Arden provides possible press pitching opportunities.
Arden wanted to provide a place where people could ask questions and interact with each other on whatever the latest PR topic was. She has friends come and talk about creating Instagram Reels, how to make your Zoom calls great, and how to make sure your presentations end in sales.
This is a great place to get a ton of bang for your buck. It’s $47 a month for tons of great content.
- If you liked this episode of Influencer Entrepreneurs, please subscribe and leave a fabulous review!
- Join the conversation on Instagram by tagging Jenny when you’re listening to the podcast. She’ll send you a personal message whenever you tag her.