While M and I were updating the About section on our site, we decided to give our best PR advice. While it was difficult to land on just one piece to share, mine is without a doubt to spend time digging for contacts. Media relations is not a hidden talent – it’s a learned skill that anyone can master if you take the time.
I remember my first pitching assignment when I was an intern – it was to pull a media list off Cision and send every contact under the topic of “food” a set of recipes. Shockingly I did not get one response. Surprised? I’m not. Media contacts are inundated with off-topic pitches every single day and most of them are automatically overlooked.
Nowadays, I rarely go off of a media list. I tend to use them more as a guide. When given a pitching assignment, select your top target outlets and dig through your resources for the best contact (most of the time they’re not listed in Cision). Look for those who have covered a topic like yours in the past. If you see an article written on a top website by a contact that is not listed in Cision, Google that person and find an email address. Most likely they are a freelance writer with a separate blog and social media channels. Reach out to them with your personalized pitch – they’ll know you’ve done your research and the likelihood of you actually getting a response rises drastically.
If you’re pitching broadcast, don’t just go off of the producers you find listed online. Give the station a call and find out who the correct producer is for what hour of TV best fits your pitch. Most of the time they are more than eager to give you that producers contact information.
So why is this so important? Media relations is the bread and butter of a successful PR campaign. Your client wants to see results, and your pitching skills and time spent digging for contacts will be worth it in the end.
Do you have any advice on how to dig for contacts?