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Publish online press releases in minutes: try pr.co

Follow your favourite pressrooms

Today we’re introducing a new feature. You can now follow your favourite online pressrooms, receiving email updates from them when new content is posted.

You can choose to receive these email updates either immediately when new content is posted, every day, week, or month. This means you can always be the first to know, and the first to be in the know.

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This has been enabled for all pressrooms with the ‘flat’ layout design and anyone can sign up for free to follow as many pressrooms as they’d like.

If you have a list of pressrooms you regularly visit, then this is perfect for you. You can simply follow those pressrooms you like, and all their latest updates will arrive direct to your inbox.

If you follow a pressroom your email address will be kept private, and will not be shared with anyone, not even the pressroom owner. 

If you have any questions please email us at support@pr.co.

Publish your first press release [Webinar]

Are you struggling with your pressroom? You couldn’t find the time to publish your first press release? 

I’m running a webinar on Tuesday, Sep 23 at 3pm CEST (9am EDT). It will last approx. 30’.

We’ll go through the main features of pr.co to help you properly set up a pressroom and publish your first press release.

Join us on Tuesday!

10 easy steps to pitch journalists and influencers

You’ve been busy building your presslist of media contacts. You gathered a list of people who may help you spreading the word about your business.

Now you want to start engaging journalists, bloggers and influencers - but how exactly?

Here are a few tips to pitch journalists and influencers in your industry.

1. Get their beat

You need some information to decide how to approach the people in your list. What topics do they usually cover, and how? What’s their writing style?

Read what they write. Do it often. Add notes to your list.

You will use all the info you gather to customize your pitch. It’s good to do this with personalized input, such as showing how your pitch relates to a specific topic that’s relevant for them.

2. Let them know who you are

You can read a lot of articles on the Internet about how to be a journalist’s BFF and so on. This is not strictly necessary, though. You can develop an effective professional relationship just by showing respect. Here’s Jeff Bullas’ formula:

“Show through your actions that you respect their work, business, time, and privacy”.

You can start by adding their publications to your RSS feed reader (Feedly, anyone?) and take some time every week to keep up with their articles.

In this way, you achieve 2 different goals:

  • you’re always up-to-date with the news in your industry 
  • you can start interacting with influential people.

Share the articles, leave comments, ask them questions on Twitter, connect them with other people. You’ll find new and unexpected ways to be helpful.

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3. Write custom email pitches

A common advice is:

Personalised email pitches are good, they often show that the person sending them understands the outlet I work with and what we would be looking for.

Unfortunately, this advice is still often ignored. If you’re not happy with your pitch yet, you can just start from this 1-sentence template by Adeo Ressi of Founder’s Institute:

My company (name) is developing (offering) to help (target audience) (solve a problem) with (a secret sauce).

It can to be helpful in any situation - you never know when you pitch the next time.

4. Find the best time to reach out

69% of journalists prefer to be pitched in the morning, according to BuzzStream research. Try to be the most recent email in their inbox when they check their email.

The first time you pitch by email, you’ll make an educated guess about the timing. When someone gets back to you, it’s ok to ask for their preferences so you can refine the data in your list and stop guessing.

5. Have your pressroom ready

Your pressroom is everything you need to back up your custom pitch. Keep your online pressroom up-to-date: it features your press releases, presskit, clippings, contacts and company info.

When someone gets interested in your story, you want to have all the necessary back-up information just one click away.

6. Try, measure, repeat

Don’t let your most important outreach campaign be the first one. Prepare in advance and accept to fail a few times before you understand what works for you.

It’s like applying the idea of the lean startup to your media relations.

7. Answer promptly

When you finally get some traction, try to be available whenever a journalist needs you. If you stick to a 9-to-5 office routine you may miss the opportunity to help a reporter out when the deadline is close.

Also, it doesn’t look too good to pester someone during office hours and never check your email on evenings and weekends.

8. It’s ok to ask

Once you exchange a few emails with someone, it’s ok to ask for their preferences. Is it true they prefer to be pitched in the morning? Is email the best way? How should you link to additional resources like presskit, press release, etc?

Any personal preference can be added to your list for further reference and can give you insights about journalists and influencers in your industry.

9. Be respectful

Sometimes you don’t get results, for whatever reason. Get over it and move on. 

Ain’t nobody got time for useless pitches, right?

10. Keep refining your list and strategies

Pr is a marathon, not a sprint. Your list is not something you do once and use forever, it’s an ongoing project you need to refresh often.

Use networking moments to enlarge your list, take some time to read and comment on the latest articles by your favourite bloggers and journalists - they’re all in your feed reader now.

If you do this on a weekly basis, you’ll find out unexpected ways to be helpful and reach your goals at the same time.

"How to pitch journalists" with Jamillah Knowles

Have you ever pitched a female journalist just because she is a girl?

No, of course not.

We had an interesting talk about pitching journalists with Jamillah Knowles - writer, broadcaster, and host of the BBC Radio show Outriders. We asked her about her experience in media relations.

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You probably receive lots of pitches via email every day. What do you pay attention to? What makes you read the pitch and the press release?

Like most journalists I do receive a ridiculous amount of email each day. The ones I give attention to are the ones that are a nice early heads-up with an embargo we can work with and of course interesting news.

News lines like mergers and acquisitions, funding news and product releases are good solid fare. There’s also room for amusing things we can share with readers, but again, it needs to be new or pre-release.

What would you recommend about how to effectively pitch journalists?

There are things that are really helpful in releases, especially when working with very small companies that might not have hit our radar yet. The first point is to be very clear. Explain what the news is and what you do. These two things are essential and surprisingly they are either buried a few paragraphs into a long release or are missing altogether.

Making sure your product is ready is also important. Pitching something that does not exist yet means that coverage will be on hold. It’s brilliant to get word that something is coming – don’t stop doing that! But many sites drive a lot of traffic checking out what you do, so make sure you are prepared and can withstand that kind of activity.

With the best PRs I have worked with, there is an understanding of what we do on the site. Making sure your pitch is something that is suitable for an outlet is important.

There’s no point pitching a car engine part to a fashion writer. Tweet this!

Forming a relationship is also great. With many companies or PR reps, we can chat and communicated easily about the news that we are looking at. Often if I need to come back for more information or other details, this relationship makes work a lot more fun and interesting.

Can you tell us about some of the worst pitches you ever received?

There are no really evil pitches, but there are many that are off the mark or worse sent by people who are not very friendly. Coming back to a journalist to see if they are going to cover your news is fine, but emailing them three times a day is not so good.

Also, not all stories make it for various reasons. Becoming cross or making demands about why you are not being featured once this has been explained is not going to help you make friends.

It’s more really about treating other people the way you would like to be treated.

Writing to female journalists and pushing a product “because you’re a girl” is not great for obvious reasons.

I think the worst pitches I have had were probably fine when it came to the information they contained, but the angle might have been forced or worse a bit inappropriate. Naturally this has not stopped it from happening in the past.

What are you thoughts on customized email pitches VS mass distribution services? 

Both of these methods have their pros and cons. Personalised email pitches are good, they often show that the person sending them understands the outlet I work with and what we would be looking for.

If these come directly from a company, it also means that there is a quick return for getting in touch to ask for follow up details. However, sometimes because these pitches are geared toward one thing, important bits of information may be missing. I’ll take the news over the personalisation in these cases.

A press release distribution service can work really well, it gives writers the freedom to cherry pick from a selection. However, without the direct links, it can be a run-around to get the details that would strengthen a news story.

I think that both work though, much of the style and presentation of a release or pitch is down to the content. No matter what the story is, be clear and put the news first.

Thanks Jamillah!

You can listen to Jamillah Knowles on Outriders and follow her on Twitter.

What’s your workflow like when you pitch media outlets? Let us know in the comments, or get in touch on Twitter!

How to build and manage your presslist for media relations

PR and Media Relations are a crucial part of marketing strategies, but some of the activities involved are very time-consuming. One of these is building your own media contact list.

Wait, why don’t you just buy a full list of contacts? You can always spray and pray, but usually it doesn’t work that much.

Where do you start from?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to find relevant contacts and manage them in lists.

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Define your goals

What’s your main goal when building your list? Getting press is not a goal in itself. What kind of press are you looking for, and why? Who are you talking to? Don’t focus only on journalists, there are many more influencers out there.

Where can I find the right people?

Make a list of all the important media channels your audience gets their news from. Find interesting leads and add them all to your presslist on pr.co. You don’t have one? A spreadsheet will do. The more you find out about these people, the more complete and helpful your list will be.

Start from acquaintances

Your network is a perfect way to start from. You can ask directly for introductions to the people you want to reach. If someone you know recommends something to you, wouldn’t you pay attention? Even Robert Scoble would.

Search on Google

This may look like a no-brainer, but it’s worth your time. Common queries are related to your industry’s keywords or your competitors’ names. Check the first results: who wrote those articles? Write down the journalists’ names to dig deeper later.

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Another common query is to use advanced operators, such as “site:”, to check who covers specific areas for a magazine you want to target. So, who covers NFC at Gigaom? Who writes about startups at Forbes? Who does what on TechCrunch?

Remember: it’s always a journalist who covers you, not a whole magazine.

Set up Google Alerts

Set up a Google Alert for the most relevant keywords for your strategy. You will receive emails containing links to the most relevant new results indexed on Google.

Attention: only the most relevant results are included in the alerts, not every single result indexed by Google. Then, you can find the writer’s contact information and add them to your list.

Monitor everything on Mention

At Mention they claim to be Google Alerts on steroids and, well, they are. You can monitor any public source, from blogs to Social Media accounts to news sites. You get real time notifications or daily digests.

Listen and engage on Twitter

How do you engage people on Twitter? How do you find influencers in your niche? You can run some advanced queries with your usual keywords, find some interesting people and follow them. Afterwards, start interactingRead this guide to find more about both topics.

Sometimes reporters tweet out requests for information to find sources for stories they are working on. You can find these in real time and help out. Twitter lists are also helpful to group people by category and follow them more carefully. Keep also in mind that public lists are flattering for the people you add.

Find conversations on LinkedIn

Start from LinkedIn groups: what are the most active groups in your industry? You don’t need to start from the bigger groups. Sometimes it’s better to join a small group with many active participants, than a bigger group where nobody interacts.

Basically, any kind of business lead can be found on LinkedIn. Read this guide to get further hints on this topic.

Try some blog aggregators

Alltop is an aggregator of blogs and magazines on a particular subject. You can use it to keep up with current trends and discover new sources. Use Technorati  to search for blog posts on any subject. They also manage a list of the Top 100 Blogs, so you immediately get what’s popular in your industry.

Help A Reporter Out

HARO is a service that connects journalists with sources. You get 3 emails a day with queries from media outlets worldwide. Whenever you find a topic you’re an expert in, you can reply. Keep track of journalists and bloggers that regularly cover your subject areas.

Go Local

Local media outlets thrive on anything that is local. Contact your hometown magazines and blogs, or even the media outlets within your country of origin. Whenever you find your local angle, you have the perfect way to join a bigger trending topic.

Get the journalists’ beat

You need to include a lot of information from the relevant people you want to reach as well. What are their favourite topics, what’s their writing style? Any relevant information about how they do their job will help when you start engaging them.

Find any email address

Many journalists make it very easy to contact them. They feature their email in their Twitter bio, or maybe in their author widget after their posts. Many times, if you ask them in a tweet you’ll get their email address.

Still, be selective: what sort of people do you want on your list? When do you need your list to be ready? Think about quality, not just quantity - a large list of the wrong people has not much value. A smaller amount of well-targeted contacts can be priceless.

Guessing an email address is also quite easy nowadays. Check this video to find out how.

Keep refining the list

Your list is an ongoing project you need to refresh often. Use networking occasions to enlarge your list, take some time to read and comment the latest articles by your favourite bloggers and journalists - they’re all in your feed reader now.

If you do this on a weekly basis, you’ll also notice when someone gets a new job, or a new magazine launches, or there are news about the editorial staff of your favourite magazine. Every change goes directly to your amazing list of media contacts.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.