I’ve been in the PR industry for over 20 years, and I can tell you that even after all these years, nothing brings me greater joy than when I place my client in a key publication. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta may make it seem easy, but there is a lot of work that goes into earning a media placement, especially when there is no official news from a company.
Have you ever wondered how a story gets into print? Please join me, on a journey from the pitch to publication.
While I wish I could say that the ideas constantly flow, we get our ideas from a variety of sources.
- The first thing I do (after checking my email and Slack) is to read the latest trades and business publications to see if there are any opportunities for newsjacking. Newsjacking means jumping on a breaking news story and seeing if my client can provide any expert commentary.
- We conduct executive leadership meetings with our clients to learn what they want to discuss. Our clients are leaders in their industries and will have a unique point of view to share with the industry, either via a contributed article or an interview.
- We monitor our clients’ targeted publications for their editorial calendars to learn what they are focused on for their readers.
- Brainstorm with the team!!! Here at Zen, we have a team of hardworking PR professionals, and together, we know what the media wants and deliver relevant and exciting pitches.
Now we research. We read articles, conduct Google searches, and use our PR software to determine who might be interested in our topic. Have they written about it before? Do they cover this industry? Do we have a relationship with them? Once we determine who to reach out to, we start pitching.
Next, we draft and send the reporter a targeted, personalized pitch. We keep it short, simple, and informative.
Hurray! The reporter is interested in our expert! For this example, let’s say we offered a subject matter expert (SME) to comment on an industry trend. The reporter wants an interview. Now, our work continues.
We must work with our SME to arrange the best time for them and the reporter to speak. Managing busy schedules is no easy task, and sometimes, we need to go back and forth several times if a conflict arises with one of the participants. While we are scheduling the interview, we are busy providing background information about the reporter and the publication, as well as helping to develop messaging for our SME. We want to make sure that our SME is well-prepared and ready for the interview.
Finally, it’s the day of the interview. We will confirm the interview with the reporter and ensure our SME is ready. When it is time for the interview, we will log in to help manage the interview. I often joke that waiting for all the parties to join the call is one of the most stressful parts of my job. When everyone arrives, I breathe a sigh of relief and then conduct the introductions. While the interview is running, we will take notes to offer feedback on what the SME can do differently in the future or to capture any information the SME promises to send after the call, such as photos or additional information.
Follow-up and Monitoring
After the interview, we will follow up with the reporter so they have everything they need.
Then we wait.
Even when our pitch is accepted, we have an interview, and our SME shares unique and interesting information, they may not be included in the article. (Check out these tips to avoid the most common mistakes in pitching.)
The article might get pulled, the quote might get cut, or the reporter may have gone a different direction. That doesn’t mean that it was all for nothing; we still have a connection with a reporter who may use you in a future story.
However, more often than not, things will go well, and an article will appear featuring your SME. We will create social amplification content and graphics to share the article with your network and increase views of your articles.
When a reporter quotes your SME in an article, it helps to build their credibility as a thought leader and increase brand recognition for your company. But the journey from pitch to publication isn’t always a straight path! That’s why you need professionals like Zen Media to help guide your story. Reach out to start working with us today.