The media begins planning their Valentine's Day articles and gift guides long before most of us are even wondering who we are going to spend the holiday with. In fact, most of us are shopping for Christmas when editors and producers are developing story and gift ideas for Valentine's Day.
Before we get started in how you can pitch the press for Valentine's Day, you'll need to know these glossary terms: "long leads" and "short leads".
Long lead stories run in media outlets like monthly magazines who write stories 3-6 months in advance.
Short lead stories will run in media outlets that begin planning as early as December for some, January and February for others, depending on their editorial planning calendars.
Short lead outlets like blogs, television, newspapers and weekly magazines work quickly and turn over stories on a daily basis. But when editors know something big like a holiday or annual event is coming, they prepare ahead of time. Media outlets want to be sure to have the best gift guides, experts and topics squared away and available to the public prior to the holiday so that they can help people shop, prepare and get ready ahead of time.
As a small business or entrepreneur, you need to be well under way with your outreach and Valentine's Day offerings in advance. Remember - the early birds get the worms!
If you're thinking of a monthly magazine, always assume they are working at least three months out, if not more, so plan on pitching out accordingly. If you're on the "short lead track," you want to begin your prep work in December and no later than January.
TRAINING CLASS AVAILABLE!:
Stream Tin Shingle's training class TuneUp with special Guest Expert Jamie Werner, PR Director at Moderne Press: How to Pitch Short Lead Media (blogs, weekly magazines, newspapers) for Valentine's Day
With that in mind, let's begin our tips for pitching Valentine's Day products, services and experts. We'll also cover pitching ideas and what you need to do to prepare. Get ready to take some notes and do some outreach!
What you need before you pitch your Valentine's Day offerings:
Before reaching out to the press, be sure you are prepared. You can't send a pitch if you aren't ready to get the press all they need, and assist them with all relevant components the moment they return your email or request a sample or quote from you.
Have the following on hand whether you are an expert or a product-based business hoping to get some Valentine's Day "love" from the press (pun intended):
- Samples. You would think we're kidding but we aren't. If you pitch it you have to have it. Editors move fast and are on deadline, do not ever send anything to them via pitch that you cannot guarantee you can have on their doorstep within one business day, two max if you live far, far away. Also remember that samples aren't enough. The samples have to be samples and product ideas that fit for Valentine's Day. Remember this isn't about you getting rid of old inventory. It's about you giving an editor or producer great gift ideas that fit the needs of their readers, viewers or listeners.
- Sample Expert Topics. Just as product people have to prepare before pitching by planning which products they will share, service providers and experts should create a bulleted list of topics (or pre-write vignettes) covering what they could share as an expert for Valentine's Day stories.
- Images. Have images ready of products you are offering in high and low resolution. High resolution is standard for magazines (and more and more often blogs) and is always at least 300 dpi. PLEASE remember that high resolution doesn't necessarily mean a large file, so be sure you're sending them the correct type of file. Also have a quality photo of everything you're offering, in other words don't say "we also do it in pink" and then not have any images of your product in that color (or at least a sample of it for them to shoot). If you are an expert you will need a headshot of yourself, again in high resolution and low resolution.
SEE ALSO: How to Take a Professional Headshot at Home.
- Media Kit. This doesn't have to be an over-the-top or expensive production, and will more than likely be emailed in PDF form and not be sent physically, but have both options ready. The contents of your media kit should at the very least have your linesheets if you do products, company "about us", biography if you are an expert, and any other relevant brand or marketing material. Don't stress about this as they may not even ask for it, but it's always good to have on hand just in case!
- Short description of your product. Have this ready to go as some outlets ask for it, and you should have it on hand for every product you are pitching.
- Quick pre-written pitch about your good, service or yourself. Keep it short, relevant and include bullets to separate different ideas. Bullet points are easier on the eye. If you pre-write your pitch, you can first use it for long lead outreach, and then tweak and reuse it for short lead outreach closer to the holiday.
SEE ALSO: How to Pitch the Media
- Quick tip sheet.
If you are an expert or service provider, create a quick tip sheet, which will include tips you can share or topics you can discuss in regards to Valentine's Day. When an editor your emailed pitch with your tips, they can easily be lifted into articles by editors and reporters, or turned into sidebars or expanded into full articles. Keep in mind that editors and reporters don't always think to email you if they've used your ideas, so set up Google Alerts for your name and business name so that you can be alerted if your business has been featured in the media!
- Where to buy.
Be sure you have a simple and easy way for readers, viewers or listeners to connect and purchase your goods or service.
Hopefully these suggestions got your creative juices flowing and you're beginning to think about what you have to offer. Think big: do your research and pitch long lead magazines far enough in advance, do tip sheets that match the outlet you are reaching out to, start reaching out to outlets you envision yourself in!
Knowing how to pitch the media is a major step to securing press for your brand. At Tin Shingle, we empower small businesses, experts and young and established brands to make this happen through our unique membership program. Once you unlock membership, you can have instant access to Media Contacts at major magazines, select PR Leads, an all-access pass to all classes in our Education Program, a connection to a trusted community of other businesses who are going through what you are experiencing as you grow your brand. Click here to learn more about membership with Tin Shingle.
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