For any brand, getting media coverage is one of the best ways to get your company noticed in the public eye. With essential media coverage, you’ll be able to propel your business forward and potentially drive conversions too.

Unfortunately, getting media coverage is not as straightforward as firing off pitches to a slew of journalists (in fact, you’re more likely to annoy them by doing this!). You need to deliver the right message to the right journalist and execute the pitch well. Otherwise, pitches can and will fall flat, resulting in missed opportunities.

Not to worry though, we’ve devised an easy-to-follow 3-step guide that’ll help you develop a strategy and score media coverage in no time. All it takes is some prior planning first.

Step 1: Collate a strong media list

It goes without saying that you need a media list to start pitching. However, you shouldn’t simply target everyone and anyone in the industry- a ‘spray and pray’ approach. Two things to keep in mind as you build a strong media list to kickstart your outreach:

1. Target specific writers within publications

Don’t simply narrow down publications you want to be featured in. Look out for the specific writers within those publications to connect with – especially those who are writing on topics relevant or related to your brand. This would ensure you’re not just reaching out blindly and sending a pitch to a general email, hoping to be picked up.

2. Utilise Keyword Search to discover the right journalists

Different publications structure their teams differently. Broad publications will usually have one editor covering one beat (area of focus), whereas industry-specific publications may have various editors or journalists covering niche topics in said industry.

Hence, traditionally, PR and communications professionals would identify the journalists they want to reach out to by identifying the beats they cover.

For instance, if you want to pitch to a tech publication for your e-commerce business, you would reach out to a journalist covering e-commerce. To do this, you can either look at a publication’s masthead, Twitter profile of journalists or utilise the Influencer database on Meltwater.

Meltwater Influencer Database filter according to beats

However, the journalism industry has evolved to a point where increasingly journalists do not have a defined beat anymore. There are also more freelancers in the industry writing across different beats.

Noting this transformation, Meltwater’s Influencer database features a powerful Keyword Search function that’s powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP). This will help you discover relevant journalists who’ve published content that matches the keyword you’re searching for, regardless of beat

Meltwater Influencer Database Keyword Search function to discover contacts writing about a specific keyword

Step 2: Nail your story angles

Once you’ve got your list sorted, it’s now time to prep well and craft one stellar story angle that journalists won’t be able to turn down. Always ask yourself if the angle you’re pitching will be as exciting for them as it is for you. Some elements you will need to nail this include:

1. An angle/story they can’t ignore

Start by looking at the recent articles published by journalists in your list and if your topic, product or brand is related to it.

The Straits Times reporter, Christopher Tan’s latest articles

For instance, you can see that Christopher Tan from The Straits Times focuses on the transport industry based on his latest articles and professional title. If your product or service is related to that field, you would have a much higher chance nabbing the attention of Tan. Another easier way to see what are the main topics journalists cover is from the Influencer Contact Management tool.

A snapshot of journalist results in the Meltwater Influencer Database

With this tool, you can look through various journalists according to their roles and have a look at their beats as well as their recently published articles to see if it’s relevant to you before crafting the ideal angle.

Besides relevance to the journalist’s interests or topics, a read-worthy pitch should also be timely and carry the potential to gain plenty of traffic. A timely pitch may be something that’s related to a current viral trend or a news story that’s trending. Use that to your advantage and spin an angle relevant to your business or product. If done well, this has the potential to grab a reader’s attention but it’s not always easy to pull off.

Your angle or story will be the stepping stone to obtaining media coverage. Spend some time to get the right story developed and you’ll be off to a good start.

2. A subject line that captures attention immediately

Once you’ve figured out the perfect angle, your pitch might still fall short if you can’t get a journalist to open that email. That’s why you need to spend time crafting the perfect subject line too.

Subject lines that are engaging can be either:

Straight to the point with no fuss
To craft this, you can simply highlight the main point of your pitch within the subject line so the journalist has a quick idea of what the email will be about. This helps them filter out what’s relevant in their inbox from the noise.

Eg. Etihad Airways Launches New Fully-Customisable Economy Experience

For an aviation journalist, this short and direct subject line is a sure-opener.

Personalised to the journalist
Once you’ve gathered enough information on the journalist you’re reaching out to, create a personalised subject line that will better engage with them. Some ways to personalise can be according to the journalist’s last few articles, their location or something they’ve shared on social media recently.

Eg. Read your shophouse article and I’ve got an idea to share
Eg. Working on any organic beauty stories? I’ve got one.

See how the subject line brings attention to a specific article the journalist has written? This immediately creates a connection and helps break the ice, encouraging the journalist to open the email and read on.

Witty with a dose of humour
Since journalists receive multiple press releases and pitches in a day, it helps to break up the monotony in their inbox and deliver something that stands out. One way to do that is with humour. Use it well and you might get them hooked enough to click through.

Eg. Rumor has it: people hate telco!

This particular subject line was used by Circles.Life to share that the telco made it as the most recommended telco in Singapore according to the YouGov 2018 BrandIndex – while no other telco made it to the list. This cheeky subject line sure did capture journalists’ attention.

3. A short, straight-to-the-point email

In between researching, writing a current article and looking through multiple pitches, they don’t have much time to read through a lengthy pitch to decide whether or not to cover it. Instead, speak to journalists better by writing a short, succinct pitch that’s straight-to-the-point and compelling.

You can do that with the right formatting (use short sentences, bullet points, sub-headings, visuals) to ensure your pitch is highly readable even if journalists are just skimming through.

Once you’ve perfected your pitch, craft your email on Meltwater Influencer Contact Management (ICM) tool and head to the Outreach tab and send it out to your media list. This feature allows you to analyse the impact of your outreach.

Result summary from Meltwater Influencer Contact Management (ICM) tool’s Outreach feature

Pitches sent through Meltwater use email tracking to generate a set of engagement metrics that present valuable and objective insight into how well the pitches you sent resonated with journalists.

While open rate would signify the percentage of journalists who actually opened your email (may not have read through), click to open rate is a much stronger indicator of engagement. It tracks how many actually clicked on hyperlinks within your email, a signal that they’ve read the content and are actively engaging with it. The higher the percentage, the higher the engagement!

Step 3: Build and cultivate lasting media relationships

Successful media outreach generally falls heavily on the type of relationship you have with journalists. Hence, it’s imperative you start building rapport long before you decide to pitch to them.

Once you have built some form of relationship, it’ll become a lot easier to pitch to journalists and they’ll also be far more likely to read your pitch. Never underestimate the importance of connecting as this will have much greater success than cold pitching.  

Now that they’ve read your pitch and they’ve given you some media coverage, don’t just stop there. It’s easy to treat these contacts as a one-off transaction for a feature. However, what you need to do is nurture these relationships and work towards facilitating even more coverage from them in the future.

The entire process may seem daunting but once you break it down and approach it step by step, it becomes a lot more straightforward. As long as you’ve got a strong angle with a unique selling point, you’re already halfway there. Boost that with the right outreach tactics and we’ll be seeing you on all the major publications pretty soon!