What should you do so people will buy your product or service? Let them know about it.
Media outreach is one way to promote your business, but a recent study shows that journalists respond only to 3.27% of the pitches they receive. It reveals the tight competition between companies seeking to promote their products through media outreach.
In this article, we’ll tell you what media outreach is, why you need it, and how to do successful PR outreach for your business.
What is media outreach in PR?
Media outreach is the process of promoting information about your products and services to journalists and reporters. Due to the rising internet usage, you can also pitch to bloggers and influencers.
But what’s the aim of PR outreach?
You need a media outreach campaign to get press coverage and brand mentions. These will allow you to reach your target audience, as well as boost your SEO efforts.
It’s mutually beneficial to journalists and entrepreneurs. Journalists look for news stories to report, while businesses want to raise awareness for their brands.
But first, let’s delve into the basics.
What’s the difference between media outreach and media relations?
You need both for a positive brand image, but they have distinctions.
In media outreach, you’re pitching your content to journalists, bloggers, and influencers. For example, you might pitch your new makeup line to a blogger who reviews beauty products.
Another long-standing practice of media outreach involves sending press releases. But with the growing number of people who rely on the internet for information, you can also introduce your latest product on social platforms or lifestyle podcasts.
On the contrary, media relations refers to the relationship-building process between entrepreneurs and journalists. It involves two-way communication where you become a valuable source for their news stories.
As a result, when you pitch content to them, they’ll willingly listen to you.
What is social media outreach?
There are various kinds of media outreach, one of which is social media outreach, which is the process of using social networks to raise awareness for your products.
So why do we mention this particular type of PR outreach?
It’s because social media sites have millions to billions of active members. Facebook has almost 2.9 billion active users, Twitter has 206 million, and Instagram has around 1 billion users. Reaching even a fraction of these users will greatly help any business.
Now, what are the specific benefits of a well-executed media outreach plan? We’ll discuss them in the next section.
Why is media outreach important?
Here’s how a successful media outreach plan can positively affect your business.
1. Boosts your lead generation
You can get quality traffic and higher conversion rates when you collaborate with media professionals with a similar target audience. Most journalists and bloggers post consistently, so their readers look forward to what would be the next story they’ll post.
So when they read about your brand, they’ll be eager to check it out. As a result, you can reach bigger audiences you thought were only available for bigger brands.
2. Increases brand awareness
Why do you need to send email pitches to relevant publications and journalists only? It’s because bloggers also have specific niches; from there, you can decide whether they’re related to the same consumers you wish to bring to your business.
When done right, an outreach campaign can increase brand awareness, so more people will know about your products and purchase them.
For example, when a blogger with a million followers writes about the item you sell, you can reach a million prospective customers through one person only. It’s an efficient way to promote your brand.
3. Builds brand authority
What’s the first thing people do when they hear about a business or brand? They visit search engines or social sites to search about it.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a place where they can see more details about your product, especially from recognized bloggers and journalists.
For example, when they discover that Business Insider mentioned your brand, they’ll perceive your company to be trustworthy.
Thus, collaborating with different media outlets helps establish a good brand reputation.
4. People will listen to your message
According to Survey Monkey, 74% of social media users think there are too many ads, and 44% find the ads irrelevant to their lifestyle. This is when an outreach plan comes in handy.
When content creators mention your brand, it won’t come off as an advertisement. It also allows consumers to ask about your company—how helpful it is, how it will help them achieve their goals and other relevant questions.
An outreach campaign generates interest in your product without the consumers thinking that someone is selling them an item or service. It allows them to listen to your message and recognize its value.
5. Learn more about your target audience
Traditional mass marketing involves reaching the largest audience possible. Although it can help your business get more exposure, it lacks a target audience.
When you don’t have a more specific target market, you might be wasting time and resources on people who don’t even have any interest in your product.
Fortunately, an outreach campaign helps solve this problem. Pitching your story to relevant publications makes it available to consumers who want or need your product.
How to start a successful media outreach
Even seasoned entrepreneurs find an outreach plan challenging because you need to consider several things for the initial outreach.
Here are a few things you need to do before writing your pitch.
1. Outline your goals
You should define your PR goals because this will guide the strategy for your media outreach campaign. Here are the common objectives of PR professionals:
- Increase sales and leads
- Get press coverage
- Maintain brand reputation
- Launch a product or service
- Enter a new market
- Generate awareness
Most PR firms use the SMART method as an outline. It’s important at the beginning and end of a PR outreach campaign.
Here are some guide questions:
- What’s the desired outcome?
- Who is involved?
- What are the constraints?
- What’s the purpose of the media outreach campaign?
- How to measure the outcome?
- Can you track the outreach campaign’s progress?
- How will I know when the goal is accomplished?
- How to achieve the desired outcome considering the limitations?
- Is the goal reasonable enough?
- Will the desired outcome meet the company’s needs?
- Is the PR outreach plan consistent with other immediate and long-term plans?
- When do you need to accomplish the goal?
- What should be the outreach plan’s schedule?
2. Know your target audience
Your target audience may include prospective customers, business partners, and investors. This step involves researching their:
- Geographic region
You can follow these steps to find your business’s key audience:
- Segment your audience into specific groups based on their demographics or psychological traits, such as interests, lifestyle choices, desires, and goals.
- Conduct market research to discover what your audience needs. It helps your team to come up with a unique selling proposition that will persuade people to choose your brand over the others.
- Analyze your strongest competitors’ marketing efforts. You can discover which social networks to focus on and the relevant content you should post on your chosen platform.
- What’s a better way to know a person if not to talk to them? You can communicate with your existing customers or followers on social channels to gather information about their interests and desires. You can conduct surveys, interviews, or focus group sessions to know their motivations in choosing your brand.
- Once you have the needed data, analyze them to learn your audience’s habits, preferences, and demographic information. Now, you clearly know to whom you should promote your products.
Likewise, you should also understand other platforms like consumer review sites, discussion websites, podcasts, and industry blogs.
But how can you showcase the most critical data you’ve found while researching?
You can take advantage of data visualizations, wherein you translate large datasets and summarize them into visual formats. For example, you can present how many percent of prospective customers prefer choice A over B.
You can hire professional designers for well-designed visuals that you can send to journalists and influencers.
3. Come up with a media angle
First, let’s define what a media angle is. It makes your news story “newsworthy.” It entices busy journalists to read your email pitch until the end.
In the same way, it encourages consumers to discover more information about your products and buy them.
For example, in public relations, a good story angle highlights the unique qualities of a brand. A great press release goes beyond listing the important announcements; it tells a compelling story that intrigues the target audience.
But how can you develop an excellent media angle?
- Identify the main Ws of your press release or PR pitch: the who, what, when, where, and why. Focus on the why because it will answer the question of why your email pitch is worth reading.
- You can also conduct surveys to craft interesting ideas from your target audience’s opinions.
- Take note of the questions customers often ask you because it might be the next trend in your industry.
For example, you own a furniture company and want to venture into smart desks. First, you must present what would interest others in your product. You might be using the latest technology, or it might be other aspects. But make sure to have credible data to back up your claims.
4. Create a PR list
A media list contains contact information of media outlets, such as local newspapers, online publications, and magazines. Due to the internet’s popularity, it may also contain contact details of bloggers and influencers with a huge follower count on social media.
So why do you need a media list? If you have the contact information of your target journalists, you know where to send an announcement of a new product or other news regarding your brand.
Here’s how you can build an effective list.
- Since you have already defined your target audience and know which blogs they read, which YouTube channels they watch, or which podcasts they listen to, you’ll have an idea of target journalists to contact.
- Next, you can search for keywords related to your industry to find journalists who might write about your brand.
- It’s alright to target mid-tier blogs first before going for dominant media outlets like New York Times, CNN, and Forbes. You can first establish your company’s reputation with a smaller media outlet.
- Decide on a list format. You can build it on a spreadsheet or Word document. These are the details that should be in your directory:
- Name of the publication
- Website link
- Name of the journalist or blogger
- Job title
- Email address
- Social media usernames and profiles
- Phone number
- Aside from the personal information, your spreadsheet should also contain a link to the subjects related to your industry or proposed topic and its title.
- You should also update your media lists regularly. You can remove contacts who can’t help attain the goals specified in the SMART method.
As tempting as it might be, don’t collect too much, yet useless, information. You can ask yourself these questions whenever you add or remove someone from the list.
- Is the author still writing for the publication?
- Is the readership similar to your target audience?
- Can the publication, journalist, or blogger help achieve your desired outcome, as mentioned in the SMART method?
Those are only some guide questions, so you can still add more to further improve your list.
5. Collect contact information
Contact details are necessary for building media lists. You can find your target journalist’s contact information in the following places.
You can check the website of the media outlet they work for. Usually, these sites have a dedicated page for their team.
However, if there’s no email address of a particular journalist, you can still try to contact them using the provided email address for a media pitch.
You can also visit their LinkedIn profile to find their email address and contact information. You can send them an invitation on LinkedIn because usually, only their first-degree connections can usually see their personal information.
This is why building relationships is a crucial part of a media outreach plan.
If you want print publications to create content featuring your business, you need to get a recent copy. You can expect to see the names of editorial boards present in almost all publications.
You can call the telephone number indicated for additional contact information if there’s no email address.
You can get almost anything on social media, including your target journalist’s contact details. Most content creators put their email addresses on their bio or allow other people to send them private messages.
Search for their names on Facebook or Twitter, where they’re most active.
Why not take advantage of the internet to advance your PR campaign? You can use an email finder, a software that allows you to search for email addresses published on the internet.
You can check out this list of reliable email finders:
6. Build meaningful relationships with journalists and content creators
Your personal connection with journalists will set you apart from other businesses. It will increase your chances of working with them, so your brand can have a positive company image.
You can check out this list to grow your professional network, specifically in the field of public relations.
- Send them story tips, aside from those related to your products. Show that you’re also a valuable source of information to your industry.
- Read three to five articles for each journalist or watch up to five videos for each content creator to have genuine conversation starters.
- Share their articles on social media and other platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. They’ll most likely return the favor and give your company media coverage.
- Engage with them on social networking sites. You can like their tweets and posts or leave a comment.
- Introduce yourselves without mentioning any pitch related to your industry. Send an email with a personal message or compliment regarding their work.
Once they already know you, there’s a high chance that they’ll prioritize your PR outreach email.
7. Develop a press kit
It’s a page on your website or a file in cloud storage that contains information for journalists and media outlets. Instead of writing several paragraphs in your email, you can send them a link to your press kit.
Here are the steps in creating a press kit.
- Write your company overview and current goals. You may also include your business’ founding date, location, and background information.
- Tell the history of your company’s success, define your audience, and list your products’ significant features.
- Upload media assets, such as the company logo, videos, case studies, news releases, team or product photos, and headshots. You can also include the latest posts from your company’s industry blogs.
- Add a short biography of the founders to personalize your press kit. It’s a great way to highlight your company’s message.
Now, you can start writing email pitches.
How do you write a media outreach email?
The next thing you need to do to execute your outreach plan is to craft a pitch email. Here are seven things you must take note of.
1. Create an attention-grabbing subject line
The subject line is one of the first things that journalists and bloggers will see once they receive your email pitch. It will determine whether or not they’ll open your message.
Here are some tips for creating the best subject line.
- Your subject line should be under 40 characters. Most journalists scan through their inboxes, looking for eye-catching content.
- Avoid using aggressive sales words because they may be marked as spam.
- Ask open-ended questions to inspire journalists to open your email pitch.
- Share something valuable in your subject line, so journalists and bloggers would want to know more about the topic.
- You can also use your business name to create a witty phrase.
2. Be direct and specific
Journalists and bloggers prefer pitches that are brief and concise. Press outreach emails are usually 150 to 400 words long. Some PR professionals even recommend limiting your message to less than a hundred words.
Why do you need to follow a word limit similar to the subject line?
When creating pitches, you must write as if you’re talking to the busiest people. Journalists receive 20 to 30 cold emails per day. They even receive over 100 pitches if they’re using Help A Reporter Out (HARO). If you have a thousand-word pitch, chances are, they won’t be able to read it.
You can use the inverted pyramid technique to organize your message. Mention the most important information at the beginning of your email, then supply supporting details toward the end.
3. Offer something in return
We understand that you have a clear goal in your outreach plan, such as getting a backlink to your blog post or writing a guest post to improve brand recognition.
But you should also remember that journalists must benefit from your email pitch.
You need to mention what’s in it for them. Avoid asking them to write about your brand without offering something in return.
Here are some benefits you can say in your email:
- They can get access to new audiences to widen their reach and drive traffic to their website.
- They can write an awesome post that will increase their readership and beat their competitors.
- Offer them a chance to connect with an expert in your industry (you).
4. Personalize your email pitches
Personalizing your emails involves more than mentioning the first name of your prospect. It even includes building relationships with reporters and journalists.
You can craft engaging icebreakers through the following tips:
- Name drop mutual contacts
- Add humor to your emails
- Praise their recent achievements
- Reference their content or blog posts
You should also visit their Facebook and Twitter profiles to have an idea about a story they’re writing. From there, you can explain how your pitch can help them.
PR professionals also suggest segmenting your email list, especially if you have hundreds of journalists you want to work with. You can classify them based on their demographics and fields of interest.
Avoid sending canned email pitch to everyone on your media list.
5. End with a proper sign-off
You’ve written an attention-grabbing subject line and an email body that presents your brand’s key message, so what’s next?
It’s time to end your email with an engaging call to action (CTA). It’s your last chance to make an impression and motivate your prospects to write about your products or services.
You can try ending your press outreach email with the following:
- Ask questions that encourage them to respond
- Invite them to a virtual hangout or request a meeting
- References to their favorite shows or songs
As mentioned earlier, research is an important aspect of the entire outreach plan, from the SMART method to the subject line and sign-off.
You can also check ready-to-use templates of PR email here. Just remember to personalize them to suit the recipient. Using PR outreach email templates that are proven to work can increase your chances of sending successful press releases.
What not to do in media outreach?
The success of your media outreach depends on how effective your pitches are. Here’s a list of the things you should avoid when writing PR outreach emails.
1. Don’t say the wrong name
This highlights the importance of proofreading your message because it’s possible to address your prospect by the wrong name. It’s also not a good impression to have spelling errors, especially in your initial email.
It also takes out the professionalism you should observe and lessens the chances of your brand being mentioned by the journalist.
2. Don’t include attachments
This is connected with our suggestion to be direct and concise. Busy journalists don’t have the time to open every attachment they receive from business owners who want to promote their brands.
Also, your email might be flagged as spam when they contain attachments. Keep your message short and simple, and don’t include files.
If you need to send photos or documents, it’s better to put them in the cloud and include the link in your email instead.
3. Don’t send disorganized emails
Make sure to use the appropriate formatting, and if you’re using bullet points, organize them to avoid a messy email.
You can also invest in email design tools to send an email that resonates with your brand. This way, journalists and content creators will remember your pitch easily.
4. Don’t be self-centered
This is also related to our recommendation earlier, which is to offer something in return. In fact, when journalists read your pitch, the main answer they’re looking for is how your proposal will benefit them.
Don’t make the email all about you or your brand. Instead, mention how your pitch can help them add authority to their page or how your content is relevant to their audience.
5. Don’t beg
As much as you want journalists and bloggers to choose your pitch, avoid overusing the word “please” in your email. You can write your sentences in a way that won’t sound like you’re begging.
What to do after you write the best PR email?
Writing your PR outreach email shouldn’t be the end of your media outreach plan. You should also do the following tasks.
1. Send PR pitches promptly
You should send your email within work hours, but some PR specialists suggest delivering a press release email between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Avoid sending it after office hours because it would likely be buried in their inbox.
When writing a press release for a scheduled event, ensure ample time for your prospect to prepare for it because they also have other commitments.
2. Send a follow-up email
Wait two to four days before sending a follow-up email. Remember that it’s not rude to send one because your prospects might be genuinely interested in your press release but forget to reply.
But what you should avoid is following up within 24 hours. It sends a message that you’re pushy, so there’s a high chance that your PR outreach email will be ignored when you do such.
Bonus: How to execute a successful media outreach plan during a pandemic?
All of us were caught off guard due to the pandemic and other disasters. We understand that public relations are still important, especially in times of crisis. Here are some tips to help you navigate uncertain events.
1. Find a fresh media angle
The pandemic changed everybody’s lives, so you should consider it when brainstorming your next pitch. This suggestion doesn’t only apply to health crises but also to other worldwide events.
Make sure to create relevant content for journalists and readers.
2. Ask what they need
Instead of focusing on your industry’s needs, take the time to ask journalists what they’re working on and what you can do to help them. However, it only works when you have an established connection with them.
3. Maintain relationships
Some might think of a worldwide crisis as downtime, but you can utilize it to maintain good relationships with journalists and reporters. Send a simple message, asking how they’re doing, showing your sincerity.
What media outreach tool can you use?
Doing media outreach for your business can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. The good news is that there are tools you can use to be efficient and productive.
Here are a few you must check out:
1. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a platform that connects journalists and brands for a win-win partnership. The journalists need expert insights for their content, while brands need media coverage. It’s a great platform to get earned media mention, which can help your SEO strategy and increase brand authority and awareness.
Sourcery is a platform created by outreach specialists, allowing businesses to do their outreach in-house more effectively.
Sourcery makes HARO (and queries from other sources) more useful by providing essential details about the media opportunities, such as Domain Rating (DR), traffic, kinds of links (dofollow or nofollow), and more. This helps you find relevant journalists and publications to pitch.
Sourcery also provides training and tips to help you succeed with your media outreach.
JustReachOut features an extensive database of journalists and bloggers, helping you find the right opportunities to get media coverage. Instead of building your own media list for sending press releases, you can tap JustReachOut’s features and make your outreach process much more efficient.
Media outreach is also about linkbuilding. If you want to focus on building backlinks to your website and boost your domain authority, BuzzStream is a good platform to use.
BuzzStream has a scraper feature that allows you to search for journalist contacts in bulk and organize a list for your media outreach. It also provides email outreach templates that you can personalized for better results.
You’ve learned that media outreach is an essential part of any business. It can boost your lead generation, increase brand awareness, and build authority.
Remember to outline your goals, know your target audience, develop a media angle, create a PR list, gather contact info, build meaningful relationships, develop a press kit, and send the best PR email.
Follow the steps we mentioned, from setting your goals to sending follow-up emails, so you can carry out an effective outreach plan.