Newspapers are getting thinner. Pitches happen over Twitter. Advertorials are disguised as editorials. There's no question that the media landscape is changing. So how do we keep up in an ever competitive landscape?
Build relationships. Get to know the reporter or influencer, customize your approach, and make sure you are well versed on their beat. Knowing reporters' general likes and dislikes will help to build a strong relationship with them. I love the example of a a friend who was tirelessly pitching a reporter over email. Hearing nothing after multiple attempts, she dug deeper into the reporter's background. Discovering they had a mutual love for Seinfeld, she changed her subject line to, "They're real and they're spectacular" and got a reply within minutes, resulting in a feature story.
Craft your story. You have one, you may just need some help unearthing it. Your story will be a part of your pitch going forward so consider finding a way to tell it creatively, such as video.
Practice makes perfect. It's always a good idea to pitch a friend or family member first. Let them react, ask questions, and provide feedback. This will help you finesse your pitch.
Cheat. A little. Online systems like Crystal can help you tailor your approach. Plug a reporter's details into the system and receive a unique personality profile for that reporter, so you can speak or write in their natural communication style.
Provide the assets. A prepared Dropbox folder or press section on your website can go a long way. Reporters are operating with smaller teams, time, and budget. Be prepared with logos, photography, head shots, fact sheets, a corporate write-up, team bios, and video. Consider supplying social content for the reporter and packaging it up for them to share quickly and easily.
Follow up. Send a tweet, email, or follow-up phone call thanking the reporter for their time. Media relationships aren't a one-and-done scenario. Like every good relationship, they take work.