WHILE THERE’S NO one-size-fits-all checklist that will ensure you never make a PR misstep, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid to give yourself the best possible chance for in-depth, meaningful media coverage. Don’t bury the lead. The more content a reporter must sift through to get to the main point of your pitch, the more likely it is that your pitch goes into the trash. Get to the point, and get there fast. If you aren’t enthusiastic about what you are pitching, you can’t expect others to be enthusiastic either. Smile when you pitch. Turn up the energy. By all means, talk to the reporter instead of reading from a script. Don’t send your press release to multiple reporters in the same office. It just calls attention to the fact that you haven’t done your homework, and it makes it seem like you aren’t sure who to pitch. It can also cause confusion in the newsroom. It’s even worse if you “CC” every reporter in town. At the very least, “BCC” those on your distribution list, though it’s best to select targeted reporters, writing each one a personal note. Don’t pitch the wrong reporter. Reporters cover different topics, and the beats they cover frequently change. Make sure you double check that the reporter you’re contacting still covers your industry before you send your pitch. If you are pitching the story on Twitter, make sure you follow the reporter so he can reply with a private direct message that the general public can’t see. Try to avoid leaving voicemail messages for reporters, but if you must, make sure you provide enough important facts to whet their appetites. Unless your relationship with a reporter is rock-solid, teaser voicemails that are intentionally vague don’t typically get reporters to dial your number. Don’t lose credibility by acting like there’s life-changing news when there’s not. Resist the temptation to overhype. Buzzwords don’t impress busy reporters and editors. Get to the point, using straightforward language that is easy to understand. Don’t ignore your competitors’ PR efforts. If the reporter you’re pitching has already written a story on a competitor, ensure that your story has a different angle. Don’t limit yourself to local PR. Consider distributing your release to a broader distribution of reporters regionally or even nationally. Services like PRNewswire or PRWeb can help you cast a wide net to get a broader audience. Properly managed, your public relations strategy can be a powerful, sophisticated marketing tool, but make sure you’re following these tips to get the results you want.
This blog was written by RedRover’s CEO & Founder, Lori Turner-Wilson. Read more about Lori and her unwavering commitment to guaranteed marketing results in her bio.