The prospect of getting your name into the press is exhilarating. But, before you begin firing off pitches to reporters, pause.
Take whatever time you need to ensure that your materials are in good shape before you contact any reporters. If a journalist responds to your pitch with a question or request, are you in a position to respond to them quickly? You need to be.
Following are the top five items you must have in order before kicking off your media outreach campaign.
1. Your website
Assuming you have a company website already, read through it carefully. Make sure all information on your site is accurate and up to date. Make any necessary updates.
If you don’t already have a website, get one. There’s no reason not to have a company website these days. If you’re on a tight budget, check out Wix, Squarespace, Shopify (for e-commerce), or another of the popular DIY website builders. These services make it easy and affordable to build your own professional-looking website. (We have experience with Wix and Shopify and recommend both highly.)
Remember: media will often consult your website when they need additional information, and you shouldn’t expect them to fact check information they’ve read on your own site. For this reason, it’s imperative that your website is in good shape before kicking off your media outreach campaign.
2. A brief description of your company
Develop a 1-3 sentence description of your company. Keep your language clear and concise. Avoid marketing speak, which is usually too sales-oriented for media needs.
Anyone who reads this language, should be able to understand quickly and easily what your company is and what it does or sells.
3. Media-ready images
Compile a set of media-ready images to which you have the rights. These images should be high-resolution and professional-looking.
You should have a headshot for each member of your company that you plan to pitch for media opportunities.
If you’re promoting a product, you should also have high-resolution product images, along with one or two pictures of the product in-use (if applicable).
Occasionally, media will request other types of images, depending on the story they’re putting together. If visual imagery helps to tell the story of whatever you’re trying to promote, have relevant images available. For example, if you’re promoting a developer’s plans to repurpose an old building, it’d be helpful to have visual renderings available that you can share with reporters.
4. Executive bios
Develop two bios for each executive or member of your team that you plan to offer for interviews. For each person, you should have a long bio – up to one page in length – and a short bio – 3-5 sentences.
The long bio can tell each contact’s full, professional story, so to speak. This is where a reporter can gather valuable context and complete background information about your pitch subject’s professional qualifications, experiences, successes, and anything else along those lines.
It’s helpful to include the short bio within your email pitches, to help a reporter understand why they might want to interview your contact. Also, if you secure any guest post or op-ed opportunities, you’ll often be asked for a short bio to include at the end of the article.
5. Product samples (if applicable)
If you’re promoting a product, aim to have samples ready-to-go before you begin reaching out to media contacts. Most journalists will want to see and use a product before they’ll recommend it to their audience. The faster you can get the product into the hands of an interested contact, the better – before they lose interest or move onto the next product they’re being pitched.
There will be instances where it’s appropriate to announce a yet-to-be-released product before samples are available. When this happens, note to media when samples are expected, and ask if they’d like to receive a sample once you have them. Keep a running list of contacts who request a sample, and follow up with each once you have the products in-hand.
It will always benefit you to be able to respond to reporter inquiries quickly and efficiently. Reporters appreciate publicists (and others) who can help make their job easier. If you’re prepared and organized on your end, you’ll be in a better spot to do this.