Pitching & Managing Media Relationships
Forming media relationships can be daunting in the beginning, but with these tips from producers, editors, and publicists you will embark on creating them with confidence.
Well it's that time of year again, Valentine's Day.....WHAT ?!? You're probably thinking I've finally lost my mind because if you're reading this in "real time" it's only (barely) the second week of January....How could we be talking about Valentine's Day when we just finished taking down our Christmas tree?
Desksides are a great way to get you and your brand closer to media placements and grow your media relationships. If you're in need of a refresher course on desksides, click here, otherwise read on to figure out how to land one for your own company.
Here is how you can use an editorial calendar to pitch your product or story, starting with the basics:
- Be honest. This may seem like an obvious point, but sometimes it's the hardest part of writing a pitch because you so much want to be noticed, and booked for that great segment or news article. Nevertheless, the media will quickly be able to ascertain if your pitch is fully honest, and if you develop a reputation as an exaggerator or a dishonest company, it wi
Here is a sample of a media/pitch tracking sheet that you can apply to your own public relations campaign.
Let’s discuss the importance of every column and how to best utilize this chart.
Be sure you keep this column organized and alphabetized for your convenience – it will make tracking updates quick and simple. It’s suggested that you have separate tracking sheets for each medium: Magazine, Newspaper, Television, and Online thus keeping things even more organized. This tracking sheet is created to model a magazine tracking sheet.
Remember to double check that both the first and last name of the contact is spelled correctly. Also, it’s a good idea to have the pronunciation of the contact in brackets next to the name if it is a tricky one. This will be helpful for both you and your entire team as you begin the pitching process.
Is this contact the Editor-in-Chief? An editorial assistant? A photo editor? Accessories or apparel writer? These are all relevant and will determine how, how often, and with what spin do you pitch this person. It will also allow you go to back to the list in the future and see if this contact is relevant for future campaigns and pitches. As the media world is very fluid and ever changing, be sure you always update contacts, contact information, and positions. This shows that you are attentive and well versed in the outlet that you are working to create a relationship with.
Be sure you include the phone number at which this contact prefers to be called. Also, just because you have their number does not mean you should be calling it regularly. Learn how your top contacts prefer to be pitched and work with them that way to keep the relationship strong.
It should go without saying that you should always be sure to update email addresses as they change, and also be careful when taking them down. A misplaced period or dash could change who receives your email. Also, the more you pay attention to the email addresses you are collecting, the more you will notice a pattern which will make it easier to track new contacts’ information in the future. For instance, if you know that most producers at The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch have an email address that is: firstname.lastname@example.org you are halfway to finding some very important information related to your campaign’s pitching.
Always record the shipping address of the contacts you are working with. It may not appear relevant in this email heavy world, but if all goes according to plan you could be visiting this contact for a desk side or sending samples to them for review, so it’s best to be prepared. It’s also great to have these addresses when doing mail-outs of your newest look book, holiday cards, or editorial gifting!
How did you meet this contact – was it a referral? If so record that information here in the Notes section. Other important information to keep in the Notes section? How and when this contact likes to be contacted, impressions you had when you chatted with them, or anything that may be relevant to you AND your team in the future as you never know who may be taking over your pitching as you grow your brand!
This is the area you record where you are in regards to pitching with this client: for instance, did you email them last week? Chat with them over the phone? Leave a voicemail? Send a sample? All of these things must be recorded in order for you to stay on top of things, stay organized, and stay on track. There is nothing pleasant about calling a reporter with the same pitch simply because you forgot you pitched them the week before! Always record the action that occurred with that contact, as well as the date in which you worked with it last. If more than one person is going to be using your pitch chart it’s important you initial next to the action so it’s clear who has been communicating with that contact.
Who will be following up with this contact? What is the next step? In the Next Steps section you should record what is to be done now that you have pitched them (whether or not it was successful). Perhaps you have to mail a sample in? Follow up in a week? Email them line sheets? Record what is to be done, and when it is completed be sure you note that as well, and don’t forget the date!
When will this article be going to print? When will your story air on the news? Be sure to record everything you can about your upcoming placement so that you can be prepared for it, and share it with your company, buyers, sales team, and other media you plan on leveraging!