First and foremost, I want to thank you both for creating such a relevant and helpful blog for us fellow PR girls. I religiously read your daily posts, constantly comparing and contrasting my own experiences with yours.
So, I finally got my break in the PR industry with an upcoming event. This is my first big gig and I’m beginning to develop the press materials needed to launch this event out of the water. What I’m struggling with is, how do I effectively pitch it and push out the content I’ve created to the press? What are the beginning steps to grabbing a reporters attention? Should I give them a single press release? Or should I send them a few informational pieces along with it? Is email the best form? What would you do to begin the hopefully long relationship/conversation with a reporter(s)?
Screaming for Attention
First off, congratulations on your first big event! The first one is always the hardest. Many people starting off have the wrong impression on how to grab a reporters attention. We’re told in school that we send a press release or media alert and get responses. False. Grabbing a reporters attention is extremely hard and the best way to do it is to be personal, short and to the point.
Give them a call to make the introduction first. If they don’t pick up, write an introductory note about yourself. Tell them who you are, who you’re working with, a quick sentence about the event you have and how you would really like to meet them at the event or for coffee or drinks. This should be no more than 3-4 sentences. Think about how you would realistically make a new friend. You wouldn’t make a new friend by sending a press release. Who would want to read that?! Once the introduction is made, then you can send along further details.
Also make sure you’re not just sending note blindly. Do your research on each reporter. See what he/she covers and call that out in your note. Look at their social networks to get a sense for what they are interested in and see what you have in common. Getting personal with reporters is the best way to form long relationships. The best way to effectively pitch is to know exactly who you’re going to and strategically personalize each email.
Hope this helps, and best of luck.