Founder and Editor of Couture in the Suburbs, Lindsay Viker, shares her top tips for a perfect pitch.
Positive media attention is one of the best tools for strengthening your brand image, and getting your product in front of new customers. However, all those who have tried to receive this type of attention organically (meaning, without having to pay to be mentioned), will tell you it’s certainly not easy.
As a fashion journalist for Couture in the Suburbs, I receive numerous press releases and e-mails asking me to feature a designer’s work. There are certain things the designer or PR team can do to make it much more likely that I, or any other reporter for that matter, will choose to feature their brand.
Below are 6 tips for reaching out to the media.
Do Your Research.
First and foremost, you need to know which media outlets to pitch to. Spend time looking for websites, news stations and magazines that cover the type of topic you are looking to pitch. Be sure that their audience is aligned with the aesthetic of your brand.
For example, my website, Couture in the Suburbs, focuses on local fashion. When I receive pitches outside of this realm, I simply ignore them. The off-topic pitch shows me they didn’t spend enough time reviewing my site to know what I actually write about.
A great way to identify whether a media outlet is a good fit for your brand is to start following them on social media and subscribing to their e-mail lists. This will help you understand the type of content they regularly publish. It will also show the magazine, blog, or TV segment that you care enough about their content to follow and interact with them regularly.
I always take more notice when I see a brand comment on my Instagram posts or shout me out on Twitter before I receive an e-mail from them. When their name pops up in my inbox, I already have some familiarity with the brand and am much more likely to open and respond to the e-mail.
Make It Personal.
Find an individual, not an entity to send your pitch to and you will greatly increase your chances of getting a response. ALWAYS include the reporter’s name in the e-mail and make the message personal to them (Read: no mass e-mails BCC’ing all the media outlets you want to work with).
One great way to personalize the message is to reference a story they covered in the past. This will show the reporter that you follow their work and understand how your pitch aligns with their area of expertise.
If you’re having trouble finding a direct e-mail address for the reporter you want to send your pitch to, try reaching out to them on social media. Many websites and TV shows list the reporter’s Twitter handle, so send them a tweet (or a direct message if they already follow you back) asking for the best way to contact them.
Be Relevant & Interesting.
Great reporters are always looking for new, fresh story topics to interest their audience. They are not looking to promote businesses just for the sake of it.
Frame your pitch in a way that highlights the most interesting and unique thing about your brand.
Maybe you have a charity component to your brand or are using new technology to create your product. Call out this unique factor in the subject line of your e-mail. For example, “Fashion Brand Gives Back to Children’s Hospital” or “3D Printed Technology is the Future of Jewelry”.
Another way to get media attention is to have a timely announcement. I always read, and follow up on pitches that correlate to other major events that are happening. For example, “Local Fashion Brand Shows in New York During Fashion Week”.
The bottom line here is to help the reporter understand why your brand is worth writing about.
Get to the Point.
No one likes long e-mails, and even more importantly, no one reads long e-mails. Make your message short and direct and you will have a better shot of the reporter actually processing your pitch.
This doesn’t mean that you want to leave out critical information; it just means you need to format that information a little bit differently.
5. Give Access to More Information.
Writing a short e-mail, as suggested above, means you can’t possibly include all the information relevant to your pitch. Creating a press kit, which can be as simple as a Dropbox folder with high-resolution photos and brand facts, is a fantastic way to give the reporter access to all the information necessary to write about you.
Build a Relationship.
Hopefully, the reporter decides to write an amazing story that highlights just how unique and special your brand is. However, even if they decide not do a feature, but responds to your e-mail saying they might be interested at a later date, be sure to THANK THEM for their time.
It is absolutely essential to build a strong relationship so that when you have something interesting and buzz worthy, you already have the necessary contacts to distribute that information to the general public.
Your goal here is to make strategic connections with individuals who can show your brand in the best light to your target audience. Trust the reporter’s decision on your pitch, and strengthen your ties with them in the process.
Follow these tips and you are on your way to getting in front of more media, and improving your brand image.
Did you find these tips helpful?
Do you have further questions?
Let me know by tweeting me @lindsayviker.
Founder & Editor of CoutureintheSuburbs.com