Posts Tagged ‘pr’

Pitching Your Perfect Press Release

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Last post, I talked about how building relationships with journalists and bloggers is crucial to a successful pitch, but what does that pitch actually look like? How do pick to whom you will send your pitch? Well the great news is, with new media there are several great new ways to send out pitches online and to find new contacts.

The online media pitch is becoming wildly popular. Instead of stuffy, hard copy news releases, online releases allow for links to salient information and highlight important points through mixed media. These online pitches can also be distributed easily through e-mail or housed on websites which specialize in pairing pitches with journalists.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is one such website. Users can sign up as either a source or a reporter. Reporters submit queries to the HARO site which in turn e-mails sources that could potentially provide good information on that subject. Sources can submit pitches to reporters in their field after receiving the e-mailed query. The website certainly isn’t a replacement for good old-fashioned legwork and stick-to-itiveness, but it is a good way to supplement your existing channels. It can take a while to get integrated into the site, but once you do it is a valuable resource. Heather Whaling has some good tips on how to use HARO.

PitchEngine

Pitch Engine lets users search releases by topic.

Also take a look at PitchEngine.com. Pitch Engine allows you to upload a multimedia pitch and then share it via social media and e-mail. The site automatically shares your release on major search engines. Users on Pitch engine can filter news releases by topic and industry, so your organization can be found by the people who matter. Readers can even subscribe to your news feed via RSS.

When it comes to the pitch itself, there are a few sites Press Release Grader that will, no surprise here, grade your pitch for you. Press Release Grader takes your pitch and generates a basic list of statistics as well as tips for improvement for content and links.

Online pitching can be exciting, but keep in mind that your news releases should remain professional. Also be mindful of what information should go out on a press release that could potentially reach hundreds of reporters. Sometimes less is more, and bloggers and journalists will appreciate exclusive content. Just take a few moments to decide what will work best for you.

Making Friends with Bloggers

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

So you want to pitch to a blogger. Great! You’re hip to the times and ready to open some new channels. The important thing to remember here is that new media is all about relationships. Different bloggers have different preferences for how they want to receive pitches/press releases and some bloggers don’t want a pitch at all.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find a blogger and read their posts
  2. Build a relationship
  3. Pitch your story

So let’s walk through the list.

1. Find a blogger – There are tons of blogs out there that cover tons of topics. The first step to pitching your idea is to find a blogger who covers topics related to your industry. Your pitch idea should be of interest to the blogger you reach out to. The best way to do this is to actually read some archived posts. Make sure that your blogger of choice is willing to work with you as a representative of your organization.

2. Build a relationship –After you do some reading, try building a relationship with the blogger you are interested in by leaving comments on their blog, sending them interesting ideas that don’t relate to your organization, and read more than just their most recent post. Commenting and sharing interesting information with a blogger can really help solidify you as a contact. Link to bloggers through your own blog or invite bloggers to write a guest post.

Without building a relationship, chances are pretty high that your pitch will go straight to the recycle bin. View bloggers as a sort of picky, opinionated journalist. Bloggers can write about anything, and the last thing you want them to write about is how you were rude for approaching them out of the blue or worse, that you offended their morals by offering them payment. This may seem like a big commitment just to pitch a press release, but Kevin Dugan makes a good point: if networking with the blogger seems like too much work for the news you want to share, you probably should not pitch to them at all.

If all goes well, not only will you have successful pitched your news or event, you will have a new networking contact. Other readers of the blog may also build a relationship with you through your community activity. This can bring traffic to your own blog and social media pages.

3. Pitch your story – By this point you should know the best bloggers for the kind of story you want to pitch and have developed a relationship with them. Don’t forget to maintain the relationship after you have sent them your pitch, even if they did not include your information in a blog post. You don’t want to burn bridges, and there are always future opportunities to expand your relationships.

Our Arts & Humanities Blogger Brunch is coming up on March 18! Confirmed panelists include Jessica McFadden of A Parent in Silver Spring, Jacqueline Trescott of The Washington Post, Sommer Mathis of TBD.com, Andrea Falken of Greg’s List DC, Mike Grass of Washington City Paper and representatives from Patch.com and USA Today. Meet the new media and hear from them about what makes a great story! (Tip: If you register by Friday, March 11 at 5 pm, you can snag the Early Bird discount.)

Social Media: Am I Doing This Right?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Chances are, most of you already have some sort of social media presence for your organization. It is important to consider, however, that there is a big difference between personal and professional use of social media. A great first step at bringing your business up to speed is to perform a social media audit.

Social media audits allow companies to take a good look at their efforts and gauge what their online presence is actually accomplishing. It is all well and good to maintain social media profiles, but you have to know what you are getting back from the endeavor. You should strive to make sure your organization is keeping a consistent brand and message throughout your social media sites. Bloggers Boame and Bolsinger offer several good guidelines for social media audits. Some of the most compelling are to:

  • create custom graphics and landing pages
  • monitor site analytics
  • engage with the social community and consider comments
  • scrap tools that do not benefit your goals
  • integrate your social media sites with one another

In addition to these tips, I would suggest some good old-fashioned audience evaluation. Bolsinger suggests that you claim your brand name on every social media site, going so far as to set up a system that will set up accounts as new tools are released. I believe it is important to focus on sites your target audience is likely to visit. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are probably the most heavily frequented by all demographics, and it would be wise to set up profiles on these sites. However, arts and humanities groups and individual artists might find sites like Flickr and deviantArt appeal more to their audiences. When conducting an audit, pick and choose the venue which reflects your audiences’ interests.

The Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County will be hosting a Social Media Boot Camp featuring Carrie Fox of C.Fox Communications on Feb. 25 and March 18.

You can listen to our podcast with Shellie Williams to learn more about AHCMC’s Boot Camp and professional advancement opportunities.

Education is half the battle, so get out there and learn some new social media skills!