Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!
Q: What is the best way to pitch your event to local media?
A: Before you pitch your event to the media, consider these three pre-pitch points:
- What makes my event unique?
- Who would be interested in my event?
- Why is this relevant right now?
From there, you'll be able to identify if there could be media interest and where to start pitching, which leads us to our first step.
1. Find the right reporters or editors at your local publications or stations who would cover an event like yours.
If you're hosting a fashion event, find the style editor. If it's a restaurant opening, find the food writer or arts and entertainment editor. Follow he or she on Twitter and Instagram, read their latest stories, engage with them online so by the time you reach out to them, it's not necessarily the first time they are hearing from you.
2. Make contact with enough lead time.
Email is always a good way to pitch a story, but keep in mind, journalists get a boatload of email. Reach out the first time about 4-6 weeks before your event. Give your email a subject line that sounds like a headline to make it compelling enough to open. Make sure your email is as concise and to the point as possible. I always say "lead with your lead." Keep the most important information towards the beginning - it's a good idea to include the three pre-pitch points I included before step one. You can insert a press release or a JPEG of your invitation, too. I suggest an invitation because editors are very visual and will most likely want to see pictures accompanying text, which is what they will give their readers, too.
3. Follow up once, maybe twice.
If you don't hear back after sending two emails, you may assume the reporter is either not interested or didn't have time to write you back. If you follow-up twice with no response, cease your outreach - you don't want to come off as annoying. Depending on the event, if you did reach out to a local TV show producer and didn't hear back, try contacting the news desk and see if it can be a news segment instead of a program feature.
4. Thank them.
Journalists juggle a lot. Make an impression and go out of your way to send a thoughtful thank you email or better yet, a thank you card if they covered or attended your event. And there's also no better show of your appreciation than sharing the story and thanking the writer in a Tweet or Facebook post.
5. Prepare for next time
If you didn't receive a response or if the media wasn't interested this go-around, don't be discouraged. There could be a number of reasons- the editor didn't see a fit, the publication recently covered an event like this, resources didn't allow for coverage of the event, the timing wasn't right, etc. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the who's/what's/why's to the event you're planning (see the first point about pre-pitching). And if your first or last event was a smashing success, use that in your next pitch. Remember: media relations is an ongoing process! Good luck!
Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.
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