Mashable recently highlighted some tips from us on how to catch and keep a journalist’s attention. These are great rules to follow. We wanted to call out a few of these for those you who may be pitching on FlackList. It’s our goal for this site to be beneficial to everyone – media and those trying to get coverage – but it will only work everyone plays by the virtual rules.
The number one rule to always follow is don’t waste a reporter’s time. If they put out a query for something, don’t respond with one sentence saying you have a great company for consideration and ask for them to let you know if you can send info. That is causing them to have to respond to you without knowing if what you even have to offer is of any value. You will annoy them before you even got on their good side. Unless they are unusually nice, you most likely blew your chance.
Offer just enough. A reporter needs to have an idea of what you are offering – why it is a fit and what makes it special. This should take three to five average length sentences. If they want more, they will ask.
Take your time. I know, we said, “be fast” in our tips which is key, but you also have to provide a stellar response. This is probably the most amount of time you’ve ever spent on three sentences but it could result in an article so it’s worth it. It’s wise to craft a description of your company that you really like and have it ready to go so all you need to do is tweak your description based on the query and hit send.
What’s your story? Ask yourself this. Pretend that you have a reporter on the hook and you have to sell them your story. What’s interesting about your company? What sets you apart? What is the news here? Where’s the fire? Come up with multiple scenarios and write mini “pitches” for all of them so you can have them on hand when the time comes. Make sure to tweak them for individual story needs but this way you aren’t rushing to create something from scratch.
You’re not doing media a favor by responding to their queries. It’s actually the opposite. They are doing you a favor by allowing you the opportunity to pitch your company for a story. Don’t blow it. Treat every opportunity with respect. Just as you wouldn’t reach out to a potential employer asking a question about a job before you submitted why you are a fit for the position, don’t do that to a reporter. Gain their interest; earn their respect by listening and responding professionally.