Pitch Perfect: The Art of Getting Media Coverage for Your Company
"If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on public relations" was the famous quote that Microsoft founder Bill Gates made and one that is still widely used in the PR community today. Indeed, PR remains a very significant tool in growing consumer awareness, forming opinions and gaining customer satisfaction. In today's digitized world, the consumer is constantly reachable, always online and faced with a flood of information every hour and every minute of the day.
So how can you stand out from the mass of competitors? How can you secure relevant media coverage and successfully position your brand in the marketplace with the help of PR?
Modern PR strategies consist of much more than just placing press releases and interviews in the traditional and ever-growing number of new media. The only way to succeed in the editorial environment is to generate and maintain attention by providing relevant content that is tangible for the reader, authentic, and entertaining. In addition to an exceptional idea, you need a clever approach and a contemporary topic, which in a best-case scenario, will appear on the cover of a magazine.
In the first development stage of a possible cover story, you have to identify current, or, better still, upcoming topics of significance. Hence, what makes a good "story" are new developments, current trends and of course something that may be unprecedented. All this can make a cover story! When it comes to a new innovation about a company or a specific product, the story has to offer more than just a new perspective. Depth of content, that is, an interesting background story, interviews with prominent individuals that are relevant to the story, or useful information that is of key importance, are a must if you hope to get on the front page. In order to increase positive and sustainable consumer awareness, reference projects or application examples provide a good opportunity to illustrate economic success or practical benefits.
However, if you want to be in the spotlight, creativity is crucial. Only if you bring ingenuity and a creative approach along with informative and emotional images do you have a chance to appear on the cover. A strong practical understanding of the workings of PR and savvy media know-how are important to turn an idea into an attractive story. The piece has to be written in the language and style of the publication and contain relevant facts and information that make it worth reading.
The final goal is to create the perfect "pitch". Editors are confronted with a flood of information and text offers in their day-to-day work. In order to get their attention, it is important to gain their interest with a snappy headline and introductory paragraph. The more exclusive the pitch, the easier it is to convince your counterpart that this is a unique opportunity that must not be missed. After all, an interested editor is an interested reader and that is the point of the pitch.
At ITMS, we've been able to place hundreds of stories in major media during our 25-plus years in business. A good number of these stories have appeared on the covers of leading magazines, newspapers and on prominent news websites. The challenge of getting published is what makes public relations particularly exciting and rewarding. There's nothing more exciting for a PR professional than seeing the results of his or her work land on the front page of a renowned title.