So, you’re looking to get coverage of your brand or product, but the usual strategy of writing pitches and sending out press releases doesn’t seem to be working of late. Having hard work not amount to media coverage can be discouraging. Before starting your next campaign, let’s re-evaluate.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to break out of autopilot:

  1. Was the topic boring? If your topic or angle is only interesting to the C-Suite executive or product manager that requests you to pitch it, reconsider. Often, a topic, such as an incremental product release, will make waves within the company itself, but is not going to register with anyone else. The story becomes impactful if it affects a large group of vocal users (for instance, Facebook newsfeed changes) or says something about the direction of the company (for example, when FourSquare stopped being about checking in and more about reviews).
  2. Did the PR pitch have an easy to grasp hook? Once you’ve identified an interesting topic, make sure that how you’re coaching the pitch for maximum impact. Can you explain simply and quickly? Or in other words, will your audience “get it” right away. Find someone outside your company and give them a 60-second elevator pitch. Did you make all your most important points? Did they find them interesting? If the answer is no, focus in on what’s important, condense if necessary, and try approaching the topic from different angles. Is there a human interest angle? New hire? How does this impact the community-at-large? Ask yourself why someone should care. Ask an outsider again if they think how you’re saying, what you’re saying, is interesting. If the answer is still no, rinse and repeat, until the answer is yes.
  3. Was the supporting content attention-grabbing? After you’ve nailed down the topic and pitch, it’s imperative to convey that you’ve got all the information anyone might need to write a great story. You want to come off as organised and concise. Again, people won’t have the time to spend delving deep into a topic to possibly write about; they won’t have the bandwidth. Instead, include digestible bullet points, quotes, images, videos, infographics; anything that will intrigue them enough to learn more and share your story.
  4. Are you pitching to the right people? Before you begin the pitch process, it’s useful to know the audience you’re pitching to. Traditional media and influencers, such as bloggers, might have slightly different motivations for covering certain topics. The modern convenience of media databases means that email pitches make it easy to spam hundreds (or even thousands) of journalists and influencers at the click of a button. If you’re tempted to do this, take a deep breath and reconsider. You can now create a list of journalists who are writing about topics like yours and in the cities or regions in which they are relevant.
  5. Did you tailor your pitch? Once you’ve got your list, you can go the extra step by tailoring your pitch to individual contacts. You can now search your media contacts database for journalists by what they’ve written recently, not only by their regular beat. Look at their stories and try to understand their approach. You can then customise your pitch to appeal to them. You’ll also be letting them know that you’ve read their work and understand how your topic is of interest to their audience; you’ll have a leg up on competition that hasn’t done this research.
  6. Did you establish prior relationships with the journalists or influencers you were pitching? Is the only time you have contact with media or influencers when you want them to cover your brand or company? If so, you may reconsider this strategy. Once you know where and by whom you’d like media coverage; try to establish an ongoing relationship. Starting a dialogue as soon as possible (especially when you aren’t immediately asking for coverage) will only to work to your advantage. This can be as simple as following them on Instagram and commenting on their photos or engaging with them on relevant topics on Twitter. Or you can invest a bit more time and try asking those who are located near you out for lunch or coffee.

Now armed with the knowledge of why PR pitches fail, forge those relationships and get that coverage! Go get’em tiger!

This piece is based on ideas by Jen Picard. To learn how Meltwater can help you research influencers to tailor your pitch, ask for a demo.