Whether or not you have formal email marketing plans for your clients, if you’re in public relations, every day is an opportunity to reach your “target customer.” It’s no secret that you’ve got to anticipate the needs of your clients and deliver results that positively impact their businesses – but your clients are not your only customers. That right, I’m talking about reporters and editors.
Without solid media contacts cultivated over time, you’ll never be able to garner the results you want for your clients, no matter how hard you try. Marketing your client’s messages through well-crafted email pitches to the media is going to be your best bet to earn that coveted coverage – if you do it right.
I’ve written before about how PR and marketing can work hand-in-hand. Here are four ways to bring your marketing mind into your PR pitching:
Know your customer and make it personal
An effective email marketing campaign is based in customer research and reaches just the right people with information that they want to receive. The same goes for a media pitch. Understand the individual needs of the reporter you’re pitching. Does your pitch offer him something he actually can use for his coverage beat? Better yet, is it something he needs? Are you offering him something he can’t get anywhere else (at least not in the same way)? If so, you’re on the right track. Whenever possible, demonstrate that you’ve paid attention to the reporter’s prior coverage and state your reason for sharing your pitch. Broad and blind emailing of media pitches can alienate reporters and get you blacklisted if you consistently send information that wastes their time. Don’t lose your journalist customers because you didn’t take the time to make them feel like they matter to you.
Include proof points
Whether you want customers to buy something or you want a reporter to bite on a pitch, you’ve got be able to prove why they should do so. If you’re marketing a product, it helps to offer provable superlatives and statistics (e.g. “the first product of its kind,” or “90 percent effective in eliminating X…”). Customers want to believe in the product you’re marketing. Reporters want the same thing. Offering statistics that journalists can use in coverage or letting them know that something is (really) the “first” or the “best” gives them a reason to write and will help frame their stories. A lack of supporting information makes any kind of sales pitch weak, so make sure your media pitches include as many proof points as possible.
Be honest about your product
Speaking of superlatives, make sure they’re true! If you have to distort or inflate the value of a product or message, then you’ve already failed in your marketing efforts. After all, even if you find a “buyer,” he will end up disappointed and will likely return your product and ignore you in the future. A reporter or editor who receives a pitch that makes exaggerated claims will no doubt call you on it and be wary of anything you might send in the future – if she doesn’t ignore you altogether.
Include a call to action
Every email to a potential customer should include a call to action. The same goes for media. After all, you want them to respond to you and interview/cover your client, right? Then you’d better ask them to do so. Don’t assume that what you’ve offered is so great that they’ll go out of their way to contact you. Make it clear that you want to hear from them, and make it easy for them to follow up with a positive response. Ending your email with a question works well. If you’re following up by phone, the same rules apply. Present your pitch and then simply ask if they’re interested or if there’s anything else you can do to help. Even if this bit of marketing doesn’t fit what they need at the moment, they’ll likely give you insight to make your next pitch even stronger.
Email marketing can be a business’s best weapon to find new customers and keep them. As you develop your media relationships, think of reporters and editors as your customers and partners. Bring your best, prove your points, be honest and ask for what you want. If you’re consistent, reporters will come to trust you in the way they do a favorite household brand. That inspires loyalty and loyalty means repeat business. Did you know you were an email marketer? Now, you do.