Before You Pitch

Today I want to welcome guest blogger, Emily Sidley from Three Girls, a PR firm that specializes in Media Relations. Too often people slap together a few random items and flood the media channels in hopes that someone will pick up the news. Follow these steps and you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed.

Securing media coverage takes time. A lot of consumers think getting coverage is just a matter of calling up a reporter, but in reality it takes a lot more work behind-the-scenes to be ready to contact the media.

Reporters are busy people. They have constant deadlines, and don’t have the time to wait for you to compile info or take photos, so make sure you’re ready before you approach them. Anticipate what they’re going to ask for so you can send it right away when they ask.

For each campaign we put together at Three Girls, we have a checklist of items to prepare prior to press pitching:

  • A Virtual Press Kit: This document includes contact information, information about the company in who-what-where format and high-res images. We always recommend posting it online so anyone you’re talking to has 24/7 access to it (see our client page for an example). If you don’t have a place to post a press kit on your site, you should at least have it ready to go in case information or images are requested.
  • 3-5 High-Res Images: Although these are included in the Virtual Press Kit, I wanted to go into more detail. It’s important to have several images for the media to choose from. For print publications, they need to be at least 300-dpi and 3×5 in size, although larger is okay too. We also recommend a plain white background so the media outlet’s art department has more options (they can drop it into a collage of products, make the background whatever color/design they want, etc).
  • A Sample Letter: This document is most of the same information in the Virtual Press Kit, but limited to one page. We have clients send this one-page information sheet in every single package they send out to provide the journalist with vital information they can reference quickly.
  • A Sample Package: Prior to press-pitching, we make sure all our clients have Sample Packages that will really “Wow!” the press. They don’t need to have a lot of bells and whistles, but they do need to be clean, sharp and look professional. Before you contact the media, make sure you have everything you need to ship a few samples, including boxes, tissue paper, packing tape, etc.
  • A Fact Sheet: For clients that offer a service as opposed to a product, we create a Fact Sheet to send interested journalists in lieu of a Sample Letter. This is the same information that’s in the Virtual Press Kit as well, but formatted more like a bulleted list that is easy to skim and pull specifics from quickly.

Did I miss anything? What else would you make sure you have ready to go prior to pitching?