Tips for Securing National Media Coverage

“No thanks.”

“Not at this time.”

“I appreciate your persistence, but I’m not interested.”

 

If you’re in PR, you’ve more than likely received a response similar to this from national media journalists. In my five years at Dittoe PR, I’ve heard this, well… too many times to count. While it can be discouraging to get so many rejections about your story idea, especially after you’ve spent hours coming up with the strategy and writing that perfect pitch, a PR professional must never give up. Hearing that “yes” makes the flurry of pitches worth it—for yourself and for your client.

 

National media outreach is often perceived as the most difficult kind of pitching. But if your client’s preferred coverage is a story in Forbes, The Today Show, and USA Today, or if you want to thoroughly impress a new client, you need to know how to become an expert in landing outstanding media hits in national outlets.

 

Using the below tips to secure national media coverage will help to blow your clients out of the water:

 

Do your research.

 

As with all media pitching, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re reaching out to the right journalist. Study their beat. Tailor your pitch to make it about what they typically cover. Personalize the intro of your email by expressing how much you loved their recent article on the best way to earn a college scholarship, and THEN share your story idea about caddying for a full ride to college.

 

My client, Aardvark straws, was interested in national consumer media coverage about their NFL paper straws, as they are the only paper straw company that has the rights to print NFL team logos. I recall finding an editor from Southern Living who had shared that her favorite NFL team was the Dallas Cowboys. Well, did I have the pitch for her! I offered her samples of Aardvark’s Dallas Cowboys paper straws to use for a Super Bowl party, and she replied not even a minute later with interest. A week later, Aardvark earned coverage in Southern Living!

 

Don’t underestimate the power of newsjacking.

 

Newsjacking, or taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote one’s product or brand, can really help your client steal the spotlight. It’s always good practice to pitch a story idea that is timely, so newsjacking works well if you pitch your story as soon as possible after the news breaks.

 

Our country was so divided after the latest presidential election that even employees were affected at work. Another client of mine, Culture of Good, guides other businesses on engaging their employees properly. Immediately following the presidential election, I took the opportunity to pitch national journalists about fixing employee morale and keeping everyone together, which resulted in interest with Fast Company.

 

Make your email worth opening with a catchy subject line.

 

A dry, dull subject line such as “New wireless retail partner” is not going to get you anywhere with national media. A PR pro should make their subject lines catchy and succinct, while getting the point of the pitch across. Using Emojis adds creativity, and often, addressing the journalist’s name in the subject line helps the writer know the pitch may be personal.

 

A subject line that worked well for one of my clients, Redux, grabbed the attention of Mashable, The Today Show, TIME Magazine, New York Magazine, Digital Trends, and more: SPLASH! How to revive a wet phone in a flash this summer

 

And, when following up with media, change up the subject line to see if it peaks their interest.

 

Add images when applicable.

 

If you’re pitching a consumer product, this is a given. What better way to help a national reporter visualize your client’s product than with a photo? But even if you aren’t sharing info about a consumer product, images can add flair to an email.

Who wouldn’t want to stay at Ironworks Hotel after seeing one of their suites?

 

Be persistent.

 

Persistence is key! It’s not uncommon for a reporter to accidentally miss your first email… or your second… or your third. Follow up emails are often the ones where I receive the MOST media interest from—local and national alike. As mentioned before, refresh your subject line, add new information in the follow ups the writer may be more interested in, and keep up the determination!

 

And you may need to become a bit of a stalker.

 

Not really. But kind of. Okay, you do.

 

It’s great to find the ideal national reporter to cover your client’s story, but it can be confusing as to why you aren’t receiving any responses.

 

Look at writers’ Twitter accounts to see what they have been up to. Maybe they are on vacation or maternity leave. They could also be at a conference or tied up with a big story angle. It might be nice to use that bit of information in a follow up once you find out when they’ll be back on the grind.

 

And if you can’t find a national reporter’s email address, you may be able to find it on social media, personal websites, or otherwise.

 

Calling both local AND national writers can be nerve wracking. So before picking up the phone, try to discover if they’ve blatantly told publicists not to reach them via phone. You don’t want them to blacklist you. But I’ve called plenty of national reporters who simply didn’t see my initial emails and have indeed been interested in my client’s story. It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

Most national journalists receive hundreds of emails daily. Make yours count by sharing a lean and impactful pitch with the appropriate writer who won’t want to miss your groundbreaking story.

Public Relations Summer Internship Call Out 2018

If you’re interested in experiencing PR agency life and gaining real-world knowledge and experience, then Dittoe Public Relations may be the place for you! We’re hiring public relations interns for summer 2018, and we want you to apply!

 

Here’s what you need to know:

 

Dittoe PR interns are responsible for assisting with the execution of strategic public relations and social media initiatives and contributing to the success of the firm’s clients, which span multiple industries. The internship position is an opportunity for detail-oriented, self-starters to develop a well-rounded public relations skillset in an energetic and challenging environment. The ideal candidate should have strong communication skills (both verbal and written), initiative, creativity, high energy and an outgoing personality. Interns will gain experience in media relations, research and analysis, reporting, writing and more.

 

Interns will be mentored by intern directors and work closely with the firm’s entire staff, from account coordinators to the company’s partners. Interns should feel comfortable juggling multiple projects and deadlines.

 

Responsibilities:

We are looking for paid interns to work with us on a wide variety of client projects, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting content including press releases, media advisories, media pitches, social media posts, byline articles, blog posts, monthly reports and other materials as directed
  • Carrying out special event planning tasks
  • Attending and participating in agency meetings, training sessions, presentations, and brainstorming sessions
  • Handling research and analysis projects in support of client objectives as needed
  • Delivering client-ready materials for each project assignment
  • Researching and developing comprehensive press lists for local, national, and trade media
  • Assisting with client, business development and management projects as needed
  • Assisting with administrative duties as assigned by staff

 

Qualifications:

  • Actively enrolled in or a recent graduate of a university journalism, public relations, strategic communications, marketing, advertising, or other related program
  • Previous professional and/or relevant internship experience (public relations experience is a plus)
  • An understanding of basic journalism and media relations skills
  • Solid, versatile writing skills in both creative and technical fields
  • An ability to be professional and personable in written and verbal communication
  • Demonstrates attention to detail and good judgment
  • Smart, creative, assertive, and innovative individual who thrives in an extremely fast-paced environment
  • Flexible and willing to collaborate with teams
  • Proven ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks and competing deadlines
  • Knowledge in social media, design, photography/videography are a plus

 

To apply, send a cover letter, resume with references, and three varying writing samples to Kate Stuard at kate [at] dittoepr [dot] com.

 

No phone calls please. Applications must be submitted by 5 P.M. EST on Friday, March 2.

Dittoe PR Secures 100 Guests, 2.7 Million Impressions for Hickory House Grand Opening

Think all we do is media relations? Think again.

While we have mastered the intricate art of media relations, Dittoe PR is willing to tackle any role – such as speech writer, tour guide and even barista – to produce the results our clients want.

Most recently, our multi-faceted team was put to the ultimate test. Dittoe PR was enlisted to plan a grand opening event for Hickory House, Indiana’s newest and most comprehensive drug rehabilitation and alcohol addiction treatment center. In addition to overseeing the entire event planning process from start to finish, we were also tasked with executing a tailored media relations strategy.

The challenge? The event was less than 45 days away, and the facility wouldn’t be completed until just days before its grand opening. Fortunately, our extensive experience in planning similar events for clients prepared us to tackle this project.

Hickory House in Greenfield, Indiana

Leading up to the event, Dittoe PR handled an enumeration of responsibilities. This included assembling the entire run of show, creating and designing marketing collateral and sending out event invitations. Our team also secured more than 100 event attendees, assisted with speeches for speakers, assembled gift bags for guests, secured vendors and much more. On the day of the event, the Dittoe PR team was also responsible for leading tours of the facility for guests, emceeing the event, answering Hickory House related questions for event attendees and other relevant duties.

Hickory House Clinical Director speaking with WTHR-TV about the Grand Opening event

Simultaneously, our team implemented and executed a tailored media relations strategy focused on inviting media to receive individualized tours of the Hickory House facility before patients arrived. Dittoe PR’s efforts resulted in 20 media placements, including WTHR-TV (NBC), WISH-TV (CW), WXIN-TV (FOX) and the Greenfield Daily-Reporter. Within a couple of days, media placements totaled more than 2.7 million impressions and an ad equivalency value of nearly $44,000.

Interested in learning more about Dittoe PR’s work in events? Request a consultation to learn how we can make your next event a success.

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