As MediaMiser builds a new platform for list building and distribution, and the PR world evolves its outreach methods, it’s time to finally say goodbye to the shotgun-style approach of blasting media with news releases.
We now know we’ve got to be more strategic in how we approach the media. It’s estimated there are five PR professionals for every active journalist in North America, and these journalists are getting buried in uninvited emails and poorly-targeted pitches. So how do you reach the right contacts with your pitch?
Relationships are king.
These days, blasting 5,000 journalists and seeing half a per cent pick up will bring a grin to the face of anyone in PR and communications. That’s because strangers sending information to strangers is typically a bad strategy: targeting publications that may have an interest, and then spamming every journalist and news desk within that organization, is more likely to win you a host of “Please remove me from your mailing list” responses as opposed to coverage.
But the good news is this is something we can change. Working together and using the right strategies and tools, we can redefine the very nature of the news release.
Through targeted and focused list building focusing on specific contacts and with relationship building in mind, you can start building real connections with journalists. Of course, this isn’t a new idea: before technology allowed us to easily reach so many journalists at once, this was the prevailing strategy. But with the advent of commodified media lists, email (and before that, fax machines) and explosive agency growth, we became lazy. All of a sudden we could reach more journalists than ever before, leading to an exaggerated focus on numbers at the expense of quality.
So here we are, in 2015. It’s an era when most PR agencies have solid relationships with few local journalists, and even fewer national media personalities.
It’s for these reasons that good, old-fashioned relationship building needs to return to the forefront. And using a solution that allows you specifically search for, and create, contact lists specific to each release, and each client, makes it easier to begin building those relationships. Not by sending uninvited blasts first, but via that most human of activities—reaching out to connect.
Journalists succeed by knowing when to ask questions, and what questions to ask, and PR professionals who want to make the most impact must also learn to ask the right questions.
Reaching out, asking questions, connecting with journalists and building those relationships will guarantee more than half a per cent pickup when it’s time to send out that latest release. After all, why send to 5,000 and hope 25 use your information, when you can send to 50 and be almost assured of 80, 90, or even 100 per cent pickup?
Relationships are king. Long live the king.