Pitching to Journalists and Influencers
Welcome to the eighth lesson. Let’s focus on the two most important categories you will pitch to with digital PR: journalists and influencers. Today, I’ll teach you how to reach out to them in the right way.
Ready? Here’s what to do with journalists:
• Don’t pitch on social media, use email. Unless you already have an ongoing relationship with them on social media, choose email, as it generally looks more professional. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow them and engage in conversations with them on social media. Just generally don’t use it for your pitch.
• Try to avoid cold pitching. Building rapport first is always better.
• Be professional but personal. Show your character and even more, show that you know theirs.
• Keep it short and to the point. Their time is precious, even more than yours, since you are asking them to do something for you.
• Include your contact information and links to where your brand lives online.
• Send high-quality pictures they can use in their article.
• Give an interesting news angle to your story. We mentioned this earlier for press releases, and with journalists, this matters more than with influencers.
• Avoid buzzwords, and don’t forget—you guessed it—to proofread.
• Don’t follow up. No, don’t. This might come as a surprise, but if you don’t hear from them and you write again, they might be even more unwilling to help you. What you should do instead is contact them before you send your request (and as we’ve seen, possibly build a relationship).
Now, what do you do with influencers?
• Is cold pitching a good idea with them? I’ll let you guess . . . You said no? Right. Always introduce yourself first and try to build rapport.
• Learn about them before you reach them. What do they do? What do they write about? What do they love? If they are bloggers, go and spend some time reading their blog. And then . . .
• Show that you learned about them. Mention something they have done or said, maybe recently, that resonated with you. You’ll make them smile, and they’ll be more willing to help you out.
• Do you have any mutual contacts? Tell them!
• Don’t talk about yourself. Talk about them and what you have for them. How is what you’re sharing going to help them? How are they going to benefit from it?
• Offer something. Many brands gift free products or samples, but you don’t have to. Think of anything that can be interesting or helpful. It could be as simple as a link to an insightful article you know they will really enjoy or to a resource that can help them solve a problem they talked about on their blog.
• Show them why you think they would be the perfect match for your content. Show them where the fit is.
• Be honest and straightforward. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
• Keep it short. Yes, influencers are busy too. Everyone is.
• Be friendly and informal, inject some personality, be creative. With influencers especially, you need to sound genuine, real, and interesting—even funny!
• Lastly, as I said before, if ignored, don’t insist. Move on.
At the end of the day, with both journalists and influencers, you need to engage them. Are you going to invite them to an event? Offer a free giveaway? Pay them to write a post? Give them visibility? Have them participate in your brand’s activities?
No matter what you do, engage them and get them on your side. You do need to work hard, but the rewards can be great.
In tomorrow’s lesson, you’ll learn how to measure your results and see how successful you’ve been.
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