Image courtesy Flickr user bondidwhat.
We’ve talked in the past about widening the potential audience for your campaign, and therefore your field of potential donors, but pitching your story to news outlets.
But when it comes to reaching out to local and national print media, radio, television, and even blogs, many of you are at a loss on what exactly to do.
We’re going to walk you through a good PR pitch it in a few easy steps.
1. Build a basic press list.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy and it doesn’t have to be hard. Find out who has written about you, your industry, your competitors, and your collaborators in the past and start there. Get the personal contact information for writers, bloggers, and reporters and start a spreadsheet. If you’ve got 20-25 names you’re off to a good start.
Don’t feel the need to build a massive press list or purchase one from an agency. A small, targeted list is best.
2. Find your angle.
What story are you telling? In other words: why should we care? Figure out why and how your story appears to a wider audience — what is actionable about it, is it timely, etc. — and start there. When you’re writing your pitch you’re not just blasting information about yourself to news outlets, you’re selling them a story that you think they’d like to cover. News agencies want to be told why do we care? Bloggers like to know why you think their niche audience wants to hear about your story. And you should be prepared to tell them.
3. Write your pitch.
Get the best writer on your team to craft your pitch letter. Your grammar, spelling, and sentence structure should be perfect. If you don’t have any excellent writers on your team get some outside help from a friend. There are a lot of closet grammarians out there who’d probably love to help you. Bad spelling and grammar will distract from your story, and you want the people you’re pitching to focus on you.
You can go old-school and craft an actual press release, or you can do a simple, bullseye approach to a particular writer or blogger. (I’m a fan of the latter, which reads sort of like, “Hey, I know you’ve written about this stuff before. We’re doing something similar and thought you’d be interested because x, y, and z. If you want to write about us, you can a, b or c. Thanks and have a great day.”)
Prepare a generic draft of your pitch to copy and paste into your emails, or save your press release as a PDF or Word document to attach to an email.
4. Personalize your approach.
Do not blast or spam your message to several outlets at a time. If you have a press list of 25 people, send each pitch individually. It will take you about 2-3 hours. You can use the same body in your pitch, but each person’s name and details should be personalized.
I’ve read your recent articles about ___________ in _______ Magazine and thought you might be interested in our story, as its similar to __________ which you wrote about in _________.
Image courtesy Flickr user Horia Varlan.
5. Let them know what to do with the information.
Don’t ignore this very important final step. It may seem obvious to you what you want a blogger or journalist to do with your story and you may feel like you’re overstepping your bounds to say, “Put our story in your column,” but this last bit of direction works wonders.
We were hoping this might be something you could include in your weekly email.
I love your column about alternative approaches to funding education and was hoping our story would be a perfect fit.
Essentially you’re telling the media outlet you’re pitching how your particular piece fits into the large puzzle of stories they cover.
6. Include your contact information.
Don’t forget to give them a way to contact you by phone or email to follow up, and including links to your IndieGoGo pitch page, your website, Twitter, etc. Make sure you’re giving them plenty of additional resources.