While doing the Get Known podcast, I regularly hear the same thing from journalists when I sit down with them. They get terrible pitches all the time. The kind that makes them laugh out loud and then completely forget what was being pitched or who was pitching. These pitches come with a few key red flags that include:
- They focus on the product or service that is being sold instead of the purpose and impact.
- They have no human angle or story that connects with people.
- They are not relevant to the beat of the journalist or the moment. Clearly, the sender has not done their homework or is pitching with no idea what they cover.
In the end, these pitches end up wasting journalists’ time and ruin your opportunity for growing a relationship with those journalists.
Building relationships with the media is a long-term effort, but it brings a lot of value. It is earned by reaching out and being relevant. It is about listening, understanding, and researching relevant topics important to the journalists you are reaching out to. It takes time and caring, but it is worth it.
More than just getting your press published
A lot of people think that the pitching process is about getting your press release printed. That is only the start. Every pitch of a press release or even an idea is an opportunity to build a relationship with media that could lead to them using you as a source or creating an even wider discussion of your purpose as a company, the ongoing growth story of your cool innovation, and thought leadership on the current topics.
But like everyone, journalists like to work with people they trust. Trust is earned. A good PR effort really starts to look good in 6 months and yields its effects gradually on your business over a year and beyond. It is a nurturing process, just like any good relationship.
Building your own PR comms system
This means that you need to have a systematic approach, reaching out regularly with relevant information and creating opportunities to have conversations. Getting your press release printed this time is not always the only outcome you should be looking for – even rejection is a response and an opportunity to ask a journalist about what they are looking for. This could turn into a great professional relationship, and your expertise is sought by the journalist as a source for a larger story in the future.
For example, I was once corresponding with a journalist on a piece that took 6 months to come out but was in a major global publication and 5 glossy pages long. Totally worth it!
Unfortunately, most marketing and communications teams don’t have the practices in place to do good PR. But they do have the potential and skills. They also don’t have the time with so many other jobs and objectives. I guess that is part of why PR agencies exist.
However, I think that many of you can start your own PR process and build earned media with your existing resources, given a good practical procedure and the right tools.
Let’s work together to build your PR future
Here at San Francisco, we have combined our knowledge in PR and built a new tool called Valosan, which we use for streamlining our own pitching process while remaining true to our values of building real relationships with media for our clients. Valosan has made it possible for me to reach out to dozens of journalists every month on behalf of each of my clients in a fraction of the time while still remaining personal and doing my homework on each one.
The web app and Gmail plugin are in their first release stages of development, but we are ready to share Valosan combined with our pitching best practices and process to help organizations who would like to gain the benefits of building relationships with media. The goal is to help you enhance your internal capabilities to gain visibility and credibility, thereby boosting the engagement and effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts.
If you are interested, please click the link below to schedule a chat with us to discuss how we can work together to supercharge your PR efforts.