These tricks aren't easy but they're GUARANTEED to help you see a major difference in how much coverage you receive!
Sending out a press release and not hearing back is frustrating. You know your story is important, so why aren't reporters picking it up? If you've read my previous post, then you probably already know that sometimes it's not you- it's them. Reporters are busy! However, here are some tactics you can use to give your next pitch an advantage:
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Research your competitor's coverage
Research similar brands and actually read the coverage they receive. Jot down the reporters' names and be sure to pitch them directly. Almost 99% of the time, that reporter covers that issue/industry/topic regularly. You can pitch your story as a new one or as a way to follow-up on previous content. For example, when reading the coverage did you notice any unanswered questions or ignored audiences? Maybe an angle that could be developed?
If you're going to take the time to write a press release, take the time to think through the story as well. It's more work but this will make a major difference between a quick 100-word article and a thorough 2,000-word feature.
Make a list of 100 reporters/news outlets
This seems like overkill but trust me, pitching is really just a numbers game. If you, like me, suck at math this is a great way to collect data on your pitching without having to break out the calculator. If you send out 100 and 13 replied then you know your success rate was...13%. Easy. After a couple of pitches you start to notice trends in which ones are picked up quickly and which are completely ignored!
This list is also handy for future pitches. If someone previously covered your brand, they may be open to your content and updates. Keep their names handy for your next pitch because this is a relationship you want to continue building. It's not necessary but I also note how long it takes them to respond to pitches and write the story.
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Prepare a second version of your pitch
I know. I hate me too but trust me this advice works! A/B testing is a powerful tool that publicists simply don't use enough. How do you do it? Take a large portion of the first pitch and then prepare a second press release and this time use a different headline, lede, quote, or media element. My favorite form of this is to have one narrative lede and then on the second press release use a more data-driven lede. Or I'll test a graphic versus a photo. After a while you start to realize which will be more attractive to which reporters, giving each email a slight advantage!
So you get to see what works immediately but that's not all! With this method, you also have a follow-up email ready to go for reporters who don't reply to the first email without having to send the basic "just seeing if you're interested." If you send A and don't hear back, you can repurpose and personalize B and try that one. Repurposing content is the number one way to save yourself time and money.
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When you're busy, it's tempting to just fire off your press release to your standard email list and be happy with any coverage you receive. However, if you take the time to prepare beforehand you can radically change the quantity and quality of coverage you receive.