press release

How to Really Frustrate Journalists with Your Pitch

Have you been trying to pitch your story to a journalist of a major news outlet lately? Did it get published? No? What did they tell you? Your message wasn’t newsworthy enough? Or did you get no response at all? Frustrating right?

Most of my customers still want traditional media coverage, so I’m used to talk to journalists of major news outlets all the time. Let me tell you, trying to pitch stories to them is usually a time consuming and unrewarding process. I’ve spoken numerous times to different types of journalists. Do any of these relate to you?

Mr. or Mrs. Promise

What did they tell you: ‘I will take a look and let you know what I think.’ To never hear anything again OR they switch to being Mr. or Mrs. Unreachable or Gatekeeper.

What to do to frustrate them: Call them at a really inconvenient moment (for example, when you know they are stressed out to meet a deadline) and ask if they have received or red your e-mail yet.

Mr. or Mrs. Unreachable

What did they tell you: ‘If you didn’t receive an answer yet, your message is probably not interesting for us. So please stop calling!’

What to do to frustrate them: Pitch a story they don’t care about. 

Mr. or Mrs. Gatekeeper

What did they tell you: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t see an article about this in our medium, it’s just not newsworthy enough.’

What to do to frustrate them: Don’t take no for an answer, keep pushing.

But let’s say it’s your lucky day and you managed to not frustrate but please a journalist with your pitch. Your press release got handpicked out of the hundreds they receive daily and this is THE topic for their next segment.

Before you start jumping around like a happy child, consider this:

  1. How are you going to share that piece?
  2. How will you make sure YOU control the content of your piece yourself?
  3. Do you know what the piece will look like before it gets published?
  4. How will you find out how many people have been reading your piece?
  5. How will you find out what the readers think about your piece?
  6. How are you going to influence when and where your stuff will be published/aired?
  7. How long will your article be available? Keep in mind most newspapers and magazines end up in the bin at the end of the day.

This, combined with less and less people reading, listening and watching traditional media in real time, why should you spend another minute to get a journalists’ attention with your press release? In fact, there are enough reasons why industry experts should stop sending out press releases today. Trust me, there is a more effective way to spend your time and get better results!

Traditional news coverage has changed drastically over the last few decades, trying to keep up with the general migration of information to the Internet. Professionals and branche experts who aren’t aware of modern shifts in media coverage will find themselves left out of one of the most important tools in their marketing box: content marketing. This has become one of the most powerful tools for doing business and connecting with targeted audiences. According to the Content Marketing Institute the definition of content marketing is:

‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’

Now, go back and read the content marketing definition again and remove the words ‘valuable’ and ‘relevant’. That’s the difference between content marketing and traditional media coverage. There is only one person who knows if your content is valuable and relevant for your audience, and that is YOU, not the journalist. That’s exactly why I believe we should all become our own media companies.

Content marketing provides so much benefits that it cannot be ignored. This infographic shows 8 hard-to-ignore-benefits. The following benefits showcase just a sampling of limitless opportunities experts can gain with content marketing.

1. Content marketing generates more inbound traffic to your website

The more pages and posts you have that provide highly-targeted custom content, the more traffic your website will generate.

2. Content marketing increases engagement with targeted audiences

If you want to find out what your targeted audience needs and what they think about your ideas, products or services, content marketing is the best way to start the conversation.

3. Content marketing generates more leads

Experts who share effective content on blogs and websites can generate 97% more leads than others without content-rich websites or blogs.

4. Content marketing increases sales

A study conducted by the Custom Content Council highlighted that up to 55% of consumers are not only attracted to custom content but most likely would buy the products or services of the content provider.

5. Content marketing builds up natural link popularity

If your audience thinks your content is valuable, they will like and share it online. This will boost your site’s natural link popularity as well as your authority as an influencer in your niche – factors that will further boost your page rank ratings and your findability online.

6. Content marketing builds brand awareness

By building brand awareness through your content, your business can generate higher levels of authority, trust and respect from targeted audiences. These in turn will influence the purchasing decisions of at least 52% on consumers who rely on blogs for information according to LeadersWest Digital Marketing Journal.

7. Content marketing establishes you as a thought leader

With increased brand awareness boosted by a steady stream of highly-targeted audiences, your content marketing efforts can establish you as an influential thought leader. You would be regarded as an authority or an expert in your industry niche, particularly true if you provide high-quality content that have helped, educated or entertained your targeted audiences. As a thought leader, you would be in a position where people will listen to what you say and maybe even influence their purchasing decisions based on your recommendations.

8. Content marketing is cheaper than traditional forms of marketing

The average cost of lead generation through inbound marketing is only half of what businesses can spend through outbound marketing. But content marketing, as an inbound marketing tool, is even more cost-effective than traditional marketing by as much as 62% less cost.

Another important benefit, not mentioned in this infographic, is that content marketing makes it possible to measure the results of your shared content. This data provides clear insight in the need of your targeted audiences, which is another opportunity to offer them more valuable content.

Being the expert, you know best where your specific audience is, what they consume and when they do it, but most important what they love and need. Content marketing increases your influence, control and reach without relying on a third party such as a journalist.

On the other hand, according to Dutch research, 76% of Dutch journalists claim their industry cannot function without social media. So if you manage to consistently share valuable content with your specific niche online, you won’t have to beg for traditional media coverage to reach your goals anymore. Maybe you’ll even be surprised one day when you find a request in your inbox from a journalist who has been reading your blog piece and asks if you want to cooperate on their next segment. So if you want to position yourself as an influential thought leader you can stop stalking journalists and start to engage with your audience today!