Marketers know defining your ideal buyer persona offers helpful insights to guide everything from product development to content creation. Become familiar with the publications and media outlets your ideal audience frequents, then vet the publications before going on to research the best-fit contact. Do they regularly post on the topic you’re planning to pitch? Obviously their beat must align with the topic of the content you plan to pitch, but make sure you also run through the second mental checklist: Do they cite content produced by brands? Researching who to contact can be time consuming, especially when initially starting a media outreach strategy. According to our survey, news organizations opt for stat-heavy subject lines while beats like finance prefer more inquisitive subject lines. Another option well-suited for more conversational pitches is to personalize the subject line based on the information you find while researching your potential contact. The survey revealed lifestyle and entertainment writers are most likely to open a personalized email compared with other types of subject lines. Instead, consider the contents of the pitch itself. Communicate the valuable newsworthy elements of the content (more on that below) and call out the most compelling or emotional insights from the content in a quick bullet list.
The media needs content to report, and marketers need exposure for their content. Together, it seems like these two would have a pretty simple, mutually beneficial relationship, right?
Unfortunately, like most modern-day relationships, it’s never really that simple. Marketers and PR professionals have long been denounced by the media as spin doctors thanks to poor outreach practices and failing to create valuable content that goes beyond selling a product or service.
Luckily, the industry is evolving past the point of flooding the inboxes of time-starved journalists with irrelevant press releases with the help of more strategic outreach planning. Just as marketing has shifted toward an inbound strategy of attracting a specific audience rather than forcing messages to the masses, PR has assumed a similar mindset by strategically targeting the best-fit publications and influencers to promote content made for a target audience rather than a “spray and pray” mentality.
Still, pitching isn’t easy, but communication is key for building and nurturing the symbiotic relationship between marketers and the media. That’s why my team at Fractl surveyed over 1,300 writers, editors, and contributors at countless publications to get a better idea of how to guide our own media outreach strategy.
The information proved to be invaluable for our digital PR team, so we wanted to share how the publishers’ insights can help your team improve your brand’s media outreach efforts in a five-step guide.
5 Steps for Improving Your Media Outreach
Define your audience.
Marketers know defining your ideal buyer persona offers helpful insights to guide everything from product development to content creation. In that same vein, gathering information about stakeholders across your brand is immensely helpful in defining your ideal target audience for content distribution.
Further, understanding not only the demographics, challenges, and motivations of your target audience, but also their online (and offline) behavior will help define your ideal audience and ultimately guide your outreach strategy. Specifically, it will help you better understand where they consume their news, turn to for insights and advice, and seek out entertainment.
Become familiar with the publications and media outlets your ideal audience frequents, then vet the publications before going on to research the best-fit contact. Run through a mental checklist for each publication before adding them to your list build:
- Do they publish third-party content?
- Do they regularly post on the topic you’re planning to pitch?
- Do they frequently promote their posts via other channels like social media?
Once the publication has passed this quick preliminary phase, go on to find the best-fit contact by scanning through their editorial contact list. Further research a few contacts whose beat fits your content and trace their online footprint. Start following them on their professional social accounts and keep an eye out for their recent work or contributions to other online media like podcasts. Commenting on their latest post or podcast appearance, or giving your genuine opinion about a topic you’re both well-versed in, is a great way to start off your pitch.
Obviously their beat must align with the topic of the content you plan to pitch, but make sure you also run through the second mental checklist:
- Do they cite content produced by brands?