Media Relations: Why You Have to Be Good to Be Lucky

Amanda Brenci

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Let’s say your company recently performed a worldwide survey on the topic of engagement. The results? Earth-shattering. So much so that you’re confident a blog post on your website will get these results picked up faster than you can say “leprechaun.”

If only you were that lucky.

When it comes to media relations, one thing holds true: media relations is a game of skill, not luck. After all, you have to be good to be lucky (even the Irish among us). You may have the most ground-breaking news your industry has ever heard, but if you don’t approach it with tact and diplomacy, no one will hear about it.

So, how do you get your news featured and shared on today’s highly saturated news feeds? You don’t sit around and hope for the best, I’ll tell you that much. No one’s that lucky (unless, of course, your name is Frane Selak).

To stand out in an unrelenting sea of content, you need to know how to make your own luck. Here are four steps you can take to help you do just that:

Step 1: Identify what makes your story newsworthy.

The first step in any successful media relations campaign is to know your angle and more importantly, to know why people will care. What makes your story newsworthy? What is going to convince people to keep reading or to visit your website to learn more? Whatever it is, highlight it in your media pitch — from the email subject line to the very last follow-up email.

Identify your unique selling point — what makes your story different, relevant, and worthy of being read — and if it’s truly all of those things, the story will sell itself.

Step 2: Do your homework.

So you want your story to be featured on Forbes? Do your homework. Instead of targeting just any old staff writer, identify the one who will be most likely to cover your news. In this case, it’s more likely to be a staff writer or reporter than a contributing writer or senior editor. Search for articles or topics similar to yours that the outlet has covered in the past and find out who the author was. If there’s a pattern, you’ve got your man (or woman).

In short, target the reporter whose beat matches yours. If you want to up your chances of getting your story picked up, you need to pitch the person who will value your story just as much as you do. It’s such an obvious step, but one that’s often overlooked or ignored.

Having trouble finding that person’s contact information? Test your luck with a tool like Rapportive or Connectifier.

Step 3: Make it personal.

Sending out an email blast is a surefire way to land your pitch in the trash. Let’s be honest, those are the very emails we delete without reading on a daily basis. The key to getting reporters to take a second look at your email is to make it personal. This can be as simple as using the reporter’s name and publication in your pitch. If you want to take it up a notch, mention some of their articles or topics you researched in step two.

Most importantly, make it about them, not you. Sure, your goal is to get your story picked up by as many outlets as possible. But to do so, you need to give reporters a reason to cover your story. Approach your pitch with the individual’s interests in mind, not yours. So put on your ‘think like a reporter hat’ and get pitching.   

Step 4: Follow up.

Whether you’re sending out a media pitch, setting up an interview for a client, or asking your significant other where you should go for dinner (especially), there’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a reply and being met with silence.

With the number of business emails sent and received per user per day in 2015 totaling 122 emails, according to research by The Radicati Group, Inc., it’s no wonder so many reporters fail to read or respond to initial pitches. For that reason, you can’t afford to send off a pitch and hope that it gets picked up right away. Like you, reporters are busy and their inboxes are never-ending. So there’s nothing wrong with sending an occasional reminder.

Don’t leave your pitch to chance, and follow up with reporters. Want to boost your likelihood of follow-up success? If possible, include timely news or information in your follow-up that the reporter can use in their coverage of the story.    

Nobody said pitching to the media was easy. But, when done right, you can make your own luck. And, while it’s true you have to be good to be lucky, a little luck o’ the Irish never hurts.

Happy pitching!

What are some other ways to make your own luck when it comes to media relations? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

Amanda Brenci

Amanda Brenci

Amanda is an editor and media relations specialist at Come Recommended. She loves to create everything from stories to cakes to Netflix 'must watch' lists.
Amanda Brenci