A Few Do’s & Don’ts When Pitching The Press
Want some publicity for your store or product? Of course you do! Publicists are often worth the investment for some great publicity – although nothing is ever guaranteed even with the best publicist out there. Many store owners and wholesalers are reaching out themselves to gain the press they know they deserve, but may or may not get. A few do’s and some don’ts that can help you pitch the press include the following:
1. Know who you are pitching and what sections within their media / editorial outlet may be best for your pitch. Take the time to actually read and learn about the magazines or television shows you want to be featured within from an angle outside of just pure leisure. Look at this time spent as research and part of your job – because it is if you are pitching the press! Become familiar with the monthly sections that are available in magazines and be prepared to confidently pitch your business to the appropriate editor / producer.
2. Be prepared to follow up with samples if requested. Too often small business owners jump ahead of themselves in an effort to gain press but aren’t prepared for sample requests. Make sure you can get things out to an editor’s attention right away when requested. They work fast and make quick decisions sometimes – you want to be prepared to support that.
3. Have a professional media kit prepared. This may or may not be requested, but you should have this ready just in case. The media kit should include your line sheets (if applicable), bio / business overview, photos, brand information, testimonials and anything else applicable to best represent your business.
4. Follow up with thank yous. If you just spoke with someone on the phone, follow up within the day with a thank you / follow up email. In the subject line, identify who you are and that you just spoke. Editors get tons of emails a day, so make sure your subject line is effective so it doesn’t get ignored. Finally, if you do gain press or a face to face meeting, follow up with a hand written thank you and possibly a nice other gesture.
1. Never expect an editor to know who you are – even if you have corresponded before. Always politely introduce yourself, whether on the phone or in an email.
2. Don’t brag about other press received. Magazines and television shows all want to be the first to showcase something great and something new. If you have gained some great press, that’s wonderful. But there is no need to share this with them unless pressed for the information from the editors themselves.
3. Never assume that a great conversation or a verbal mention of press from an editor is guaranteed press. The only time you can assume it is guaranteed is when you see it in print or on tv.
4. Don’t give up! Gaining publicity is not an easy task. You may get some quick luck or you may get no luck. But take the time to make it worth your efforts and keep reaching out. It may take months before you even hear back from an editor – but staying persistent, staying positive and staying confident will help you in your pitch. After all, you have to believe in your pitch or no one else will!