Imagine this scenario.. There it was, in my inbox… the request from HARO – the golden opportunity for me to finally get that big break.
A perfect lead for a PR opportunity with a big syndicated network – Totally written for my expertise: How moms can find another hour in the day:
I crafted my email, included lots of details, attached my bio, my head shot and some create visuals, and pressed Send!
Almost as soon as that thing was in cyberspace, I received a message back from my PR Expert that said:
“NO NO NO!!! That will never make it through email, they’ll never open it, there’s too much… ahhhhhh!”
Once I recovered from this terrifying response – I quickly chatted with her to create my second attempt… My DO-Over, 2nd submission, re-sent it, crossed my fingers and VOILA… I was chosen to be the expert in a news article on FOX News.com! See how moms can get 1 more hour out of their day here!
SO – here’s what I learned from my awesome colleague Donna Cravotta at SocialSagePR.com:
- Create a pitch template and use it over and over again. Customize the pitch letter to be exactly what the reporter is asking for, but keep it brief and to the point. Starting out with a template works well. I store my templates in Evernote, and pull one up when an opportunity arises.
- Keep your pitch short – Donna suggests that your pitch be no more than 2 paragraphs in total length. Reporters are busy and only want the facts. You will show up as one in a sea of many other emails. Respect their time and what they ask for.
- Do NOT add attachments with your emails. Emails with attachments will likely be bounced out or land in spam. Reporters don’t want to be burdened opening them and downloading them. Instead, put all your details in the body of your email and then create a link for reporters to link to them if they want further information.
- Really read (and even re-read) the submission request. The reporter is asking for something specific, and if you gloss over it, you may not get there and may leave that opportunity open for someone else.
- Give a few expert tips/comments about exactly what they’re looking for. Donna’s best advice is to read it over and over again, then provide them with some exact content to prove you know what you’re talking about. If they say 3 tips – give them three and link them back to other tips that fill in the gaps.
- Provide an expert statement about you. You could easily use your elevator speech or a mini-bio here. If you are wondering just how to create one, find an expert PR person like Donna Cravotta, or a great copywriter who can help you distill your message.
- PUT ALL ADDITIONAL EXPERTISE ON YOUR WEBSITE AND LINK TO IT – this is in caps for a reason. I’ve heard it said by nearly everyone I’ve met in the PR industry, most reporters are too busy, on tight deadlines and are generally underpaid. They want everything distilled and packaged to save them time and be most efficient. If it appears you’re wasting their time – you’ll be dropped out of the running before you even begin. Focus on serving it up to meet their needs, not to stroke your own ego.
- Provide a Press Page on your site with links – You’ll want to take some time to compile any relevant articles, a media kit, past press opportunities and interviews, and link to professional head shot and bio on your web page. Create a link that is easy to navigate so reporters find it easy to get more information about you.
- Thank them and give any instructions for how to follow up directly in your pitch – One of the best things you can do is be more efficient and effective than anyone else in the running. Reporters often go with someone less experienced simply because they’ve made it easier to get the information requested. Adding information about when you’re available will be most helpful for the reporter.
If you would like more information, or feel that working with a PR expert is right for you at this time, I have three awesome recommendations: Denise Antoon at TheAntoonGroup.com, Diane Ennen at VirtualWordPublishing.Com and of course Donna Cravotta at SocialSagePR.com. I’ve worked with all three of these mompreneurs… and they all ROCK!