The Art of Pitching Media
For my inaugural blog post, I want to discuss the subject with which you should be most comfortable: your brand’s story. While in most other contexts, your story is how you got to where you are today, in the world of earned media, your story takes on a bit of a different spin.
When pitching yourself to media contacts to earn unpaid placements, mentions, and features, your story isn’t so much your backstory, it’s the relevant, timely news story that will add value to the outlet’s readership. To that end, your story will be different based on the audience of the outlet you’re pitching.
For example, your backstory may be that you grew up in a tough neighborhood where opportunities to get out were few and far between. But you did it, and now you’ve opened up your own business to provide financial advice and resources to the area you grew up in to give others a greater chance to succeed. I think we can all agree that’s a nice story. Unless you’re pitching a Profile piece, though, media outlets will want to know why their readers should care, and why their readers should care right now.
Is the neighborhood now “up-and-coming?” Did you recently put on a seminar? Do you have a current success story or case study on how you’ve helped a specific person or organization achieve their goals?
Once you’ve tackled that element of your pitch, you’ll have to tailor it to the audience of the outlet you’re pitching. For example, if you’re speaking to the end consumer, perhaps a case study is the most effective story to present. If you’re speaking to other professional services advisors who might be able to refer you business, perhaps you pitch a recent checklist you’ve created to help advisors identify financial pain points, and how you’ve worked together with other advisors to alleviate those pain points.
One last piece of pitching advice along the same “storyline”: never pitch a topic. Only pitch a story. “I’ve got a great source who can discuss financial advice in X community” is not a story. The easier you make it for the writer or reporter to plug-and-play, the greater chance you’ll get picked up.