A big part of our work here at Penguin Strategies is to maintain our clients’ online presence. It may sound like we’re only referring to social media marketing. While it’s true that social media is an effective way to get your collateral out into the world, it’s not always guaranteed that something that you’ve published will be picked up by a media venue just because they happened to see that tweet that you spent ages on. B2B public relations does incorporate social media, but it takes a bit more to get your piece or your pitch to the right media contacts.
We’ve definitely heard serendipitous stories of people getting picked up by media venues by being in the right place at the right time. It happens, but how often? If you’re newer to the public relations’ scene, we’ve put together some tips to help you feel more confident as you reach out to the media to pitch your latest story, product, or news item. You’re bound to make a few mistakes, but we hope these guidelines will help minimize that.
B2B Public Relations: It’s All About Relationships
Like most marketing and PR professionals, you’ve probably put together a list of media venues that you want to reach out to for your latest press release. You might go through your list of “friends” in the press world and see who’s interested in publishing the piece. If this person really is a friend or ally who sees the value of your brand and the solution you’re providing, then they may very well go and publish your piece just based on the short media brief you sent over.
But what happens if you’re not familiar with the person you’re pitching to?
How Not to Mess up Your Next B2B Public Relations Pitch
“To Whom Am I Speaking, Please?”
Ever called a company or bank to inquire about a bill or ask a question and find that you get transferred from department to department? Annoying, right?! If you’re calling about the status of your bill, then you really have no interest in speaking to the team that handles security, correct? You just want to speak to the one person who can help you.
Journalists and members of the media are looking for your help and even more so, for your cooperation, when you’re trying to speak to them or pitch them. If they have a specific beat, then pitch stories that are of interest in that area. It may sound relatively obvious, but it’s a mistake many marketing and PR professionals make. Don’t pitch a story to the wrong person covering the wrong beat.
PR specialist Cheryl Conner gives an example in a piece that she wrote for Forbes where a journalist was pitched several times for articles related to network traffic management, but his beat was consumer products. Why would he publish something that wasn’t related to his beat?
Do your research before you pitch and make sure you’re talking to the right person.
What’s Your Point?
When pitching to a journalist or another member of the media, don’t write a 1,000-word treatise on the history of your industry, product or service. They just don’t have the time to read it. Make it easy for them by making your pitch concise, clear, to the point, and make it just for them.
One Good Turn Deserves Another
Don’t just make your pitch or ask your question and then ride off into the sunset. Stick around to help out with the story. If you get questions about your product or service, don’t just direct media professionals back to your website or your client’s website. As them to clarify what they need and they’ll see you not just as a resource, but as a partner. It will make it easier for you to make your next pitch too.
Bloggers Count: We’ll Drink to That
In the past, industry magazines and newspapers used to be the place to get yourself published. Today, the most reliable thought leaders in many fields are popular bloggers. They tend to be friendly, personable, and “real”. Many have hobbies that you can relate to and can incorporate into your pitch. For instance, industry bloggers in a specific professional area may share an interest in beer or whiskey. They either enjoy making these beverages, drinking them, or both. So if we were writing a pitch to one of these bloggers, we might include a reference to our recent trip to a brewery.
If you’re in the B2B marketing universe, do you have any practices that you follow when pitching new concepts or products to the media? Let us know in the comments section below.