This is a guest article from Julia Scott of BargainBabe.com, a Plutus Award winner for Best Deals and Bargains Blog.
I got into blogging to get attention and to this day, getting attention is still what I’m best at. Before I launched my site, BargainBabe.com in January 2009 to help people save money, I was a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News. A reporter who sat across from me loved to brag how many hits his blog had got and what juicy comments readers were leaving. I wanted a piece of the action.
I started blogging and was addicted. Ten posts a day. An email list. A column in print based on the blog.
When I received a 10-year syndication offer for my column, a “best of the blog” piece that ran once a week, I knew I was sitting on something big. I thought about my future. Another 10 years in print? That thought terrified me. I knew my future was more secure online.
So just as the housing bubble was bursting, I quit my job and began working for myself. Nobody called me crazy — to my face.
I was so thrilled to have my own site that I would wake up at 2 a.m. to work. I literally could not sleep. I was fueled by the desire to succeed as much as I was fueled, perhaps, by the desire not to fail.
Early on, I focused on getting media coverage. I knew how to pitch because I was used to receiving dozens of pitches everyday. I knew what time of day to approach reporters. How persistent to be. What kind of storyline would appeal to them. When to back off.
But I also knew that media coverage was a quick way to establish my brand and site as trustworthy. It didn’t help much with traffic, but the intense media coverage created opportunities with other businesses, who saw me as a worthy partner.
And it worked. In my first six months alone, I was covered in the media no fewer than 51 times. And that was earned media — meaning I earned coverage, I didn’t pay for it. My site was covered by some of the biggies, too: Detroit News, NJ Star-Ledger, Time Magazine, AM NY, Washington Post and the LA Times.
How did I get so much coverage? Here a few quick tips to get media coverage.
- Research a reporter before you pitch them. Do they even cover the type of story you are pitching?
- Follow your target reporter on Twitter, Pinterest, and other public social media feeds they may have. Glean what their personal interests are and see if there is a NATURAL way to incorporate this into your pitch. Do not force it.
- If they have a blog, comment on it several times before you pitch. Spend at least two hours reading it.
- Get their direct email address by scouring the web. If you cannot find it, call the company’s main line and ask for it.
- Write a short pitch. I cannot stress how important this is. Reporters do not enjoy reading two pages of BS.
- How short is short? One paragraph. Maybe two. Boil it down, people.
- If they want more info, they know how to ask. Trust me on this one. Their job is to ask questions.
- TV pitches need to be visual. Newspaper pitches should contain a new or unusual element. Or involve very old people or babies.
- Pitch reporters in the morning, in the first two hours of their workday.
- Call five minutes after emailing your pitch to follow up.
- Be ready to pitch your story in a single sentence should they happen to answer their phone. If you get their voicemail, leave your one sentence pitch there.
- Always leave your phone number on voicemail.
- Follow up with two more email/voicemail combinations over a week.
- If you don’t hear back, move onto your next pitch.
If you have questions about getting media coverage, feel free to Tweet at me at @icm_pr. Or, if your question is private, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for the great tips, Julia! If you have expert tips for bloggers you’d like to share with the community, contact Luke.