Our press-release-focused, shamelessly-self-interested approach isn’t working anymore.
PR agencies draft press releases and pitch them to journalists for free coverage. You wouldn’t even read it, so why would journalists who get 500+ daily requests for free coverage?
Instead we should research what’s being covered in your industry today, create buzz-worthy content that comments on it, be nimble enough to turn it around in just a few days, and pitch it back to the same journalists that gave them the idea of what content to create
Below is an in depth explanation of how that works, but to fully understand our PR process, check out our Levy Electric Case Study.
Keep in mind free press is super duper hard to get. Media outlets get paid to do advertising and you’re asking to get it for free? The odds are against you. But there is a formula to increase your chances.
Here it is:
- Play to their hand. Research what people are reporting on in regards to your product. So for Levy Electric we found that legalization was a hot topic and we made things based on that.
- Be remarkable. If the thing you made isn’t entertaining, educational, emotional, or relevant, try again.
- Use social media: Journalists get hundreds of pitches every day. On platforms like linked in, they get far far less. So take advantage of it while you still can.
- Get emails. That said, email still does work.
- Use YAMM. It allows you to send a shitload of personalized emails at the same time using excel. Wrote a post about this too.
- Write the perfect pitch: Short, clear, concise. They know what you want so be honest and direct.
- Experiment: Try different messaging, GIFs, subject lines. Make jokes. Be provocative. Different things will work better than others. So it’s better try everything as you get started out. Then use what you learn to make future outreach more effective.
- Send enough at the right time. If 10% of journalists respond to you, you’re doing absurdly well. So, you want to do a ton A LOT of emails. Be sure to do it at 8am on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
- Ask for advice. If they don’t respond follow up and ask for advice on how to pitch them better. It’s genuinely helpful for you and gets a much higher response rate. I almost didn’t include this because it’s so uncommon I’m worried I won’t be able to use it if more people start. Oh well.
- Create a database. Anybody who responds to you, put in a database. That way you can hit them up the next time you have something they might be interested in covering.
That is the primary method I use to get free press, but there are a bunch of other ways. Reddit, HARO, Op-Ed’s, etc. So I’m always trying to learn and improve my methods. If you have a different way of doing things, I’d LOVE to hear it!