In a world of instant gratification, technology, and machine learning, it’s never before been easier to craft media lists and send media pitches. In a matter of seconds, you can have a list of hundreds of journalists and bloggers who “cover” your topic. All you have to do is download the list, craft an email, and hit send.
Easy peasy, right? Sure is! If you want to fail miserably and have almost no success.
You may get one or two people to bite on your pitch, but percentage-wise, that’s less than one percent. And I know I would much rather have 100 percent success than one percent.
You can! But it’s not through sending one email to hundreds of journalists and bloggers.
Craft an unbeatable media relations pitch and send it to just a handful of outlets & blogs.
Not only will you have success, the articles placed will be highly relevant to your organization—and will even drive leads.
Formula to Craft an Unbeatable Media Relations Pitch
If you’re nervous about pitching this way, here is a formula for crafting an unbeatable media relations pitch that drives measurable results:
- Start with your priority keywords.
- Identify media outlets already publishing—and ranking for—your keywords.
- Create high quality owned content on those topics.
- Craft a personal pitch, that reflects what you know they’ve published, and shows your expert’s thought leadership in that area, as supported by your owned content.
- Optimize your content with anchor text and a link to something very specific on your website.
Start with Your Priority Keywords
One of the most important things you can do is a list of priority keywords for your communications campaign.
In some cases, your organization will have these already defined and prioritized. In other cases, you’ll have to start from scratch. And in yet others, what the organization has for SEO purposes may not marry well with your communications goals (though they should be mostly the same).
Your keywords will be a starting point for your customized media list—and they’ll turn into a statement that could be used as a headline for a high-level piece of content. This is what you’ll pitch to journalists and bloggers.
Identify Top Media Outlets Covering Your Topic
Now take your priority keywords and open a Google search page. This is a very manual process, but it’ll make sense in a minute because the whole point is to create a highly customized list that you will be 100 percent effective in pitching.
Do a Google search for your first priority keyword. Which media outlets and blogs show up in results?
For instance, if I were to do this for “media relations,” which could be one of my priority keywords, I would see the SHIFT blog, Content Marketing Today, Spin Sucks, eReleases, and Fast Company in the results. That gives me five outlets and blogs to add to my media list.
Then I would do some research into the others to see if they take contributed content. It doesn’t hurt to go to pages two and three of search results to broaden your media list.
Once that work is complete, you’ll add them to your content map (see below).
Plan a Content Map
Here’s an example of a PESO content map in action:
- Use the primary keyword phrase, “How to Build a Media Contact List.”
- Owned Media: Identify two posts to live on the organization’s blog, and an eBook to post on the website behind a lead form.
- Earned media: For each of the blog posts, identify three contributed content ideas to pitch to publications, and three to pitch to blogs.
For each of the identified blogs or media outlets, you will pitch an idea related to one of the priority keywords you developed in step one. These are broad topics that work up to the “media contact” keyword phrase.
Once you’ve completed your media relations outreach, you have six higher domain websites pointing back to content on your blog.
(In the example above, I had only five outlets and blogs on my media list…so I’ll want to add one more.)
Craft a Personal Pitch
You won’t want to immediately pitch media outlets on your topics. Cool your jets and spend some time building relationships with the journalists and bloggers you’ve planned to pitch.
Interact with them on social and amplify their content. Comment on their articles—if their site allows it. Share, share, and share some more. That way, when you are ready to pitch, your name will be familiar to them. You’ll also have a much better idea of their beat and preferences.
In your pitch, briefly outline who you (or the executive you are pitching) are and cite your owned content as examples of your expertise and prior take on the topic. Note that you’ve seen a specific piece of content on a related topic, and would like to pitch them on your topic.
Every day, journalists receive an inbox full of pitches from people they don’t know, on topics they don’t cover. Spending the time to individually craft each pitch—instead of writing a generic pitch and spamming it out to your entire media list—will stand out.
Optimize Your Content
Your pitch has been accepted, but you’re not finished yet! Regardless of if you’ve scored coverage or publication of contributed content, you want to make sure they include a link back to your website from relevant anchor text.
Going back to the above example, it would be hyperlinked anchor text that uses the phrase “media contact.” That text would then link one of the media contact blog posts on your site. By including this link to your site, not only will you begin to see an improvement in your domain authority over time, you now have something concrete to measure.
While this process takes more time than a batch and blast pitching approach, it has significantly better results—both in terms of placements and in driving qualified leads into your sale funnel. That’s priceless.
Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.