A five-step PR process for newbies

Hiring a hotshot PR agency often doesn’t fit the start-up mould, but many have found success in approaching the media for themselves. Here’s a no-fuss guide to tackling your media communications.

1. Give yourself a good run up

If you are able to have images and a tight pitch ready a few months in advance then you are in position to get picked up by the ‘long-lead’ press. Print magazines run on a two-to-three month lead time. Media look for timely, fresh content for their readers, so your product, event or service must be just live, or soon to be live, when the issue hits the shelves.

The news media and digital run to a more immediate schedule. They can move on publishing great content at short notice. News and digital publications are approached in a second wave, closer to the launch date.

2. Image focus

Campaign image quality can make or break your pitch. Publications are very persuaded by high quality imagery accompanying an interesting pitch. Consider whether you need product, campaign or headshot images for your media purposes and invest in a great photographer. These assets will come in handy for social media as well.

Print publications want hi-res imagery at 300dpi. Digital publications require hi-res at 72dpi. Have sets of both ready.

3. Target publications

Having a good knowledge of the media landscape in your market is absolutely essential. For this, a media list service List Co. is great resource. It presents the leading publications in each consumer industry, as well as the names of the editors and their contact info.

Research each publication and refine your target list to only those where there is a clear synergy.

4. Communicate the essentials

The trick with a good pitch email and press release is saying just enough without breaking a sweat. Distil your message to its essence. If you convey it’s appeal to the readership then you are offering something of interest from an Editor’s point of view.

Work with a great copywriter or communications pro to refine these materials. Be sure you have covered off the five Ws: the Who (you), the What, the Where, the When and the Why. The last key detail is the pricepoint. Keep all this info tight and brief. If they want more info they will ask.

5. Pitching is personal

Never send a group email CC’ing your whole media database. The reasons are twofold. Firstly, a personalised email that addresses the recipient by name is professional courtesy. Secondly a batch send can cause servers to divert your email to spam folders.

A good media list will give you an overview of the media landscape in your industry, the name of your key contact at each publication, and their email. Do your own research into each contact. Look up their recent stories on Twitter. With this information you can acknowledging their work in a more personal email. Showing that you respect their work will help establish a long lasting professional relationship.

Kyra Pybus, PR Professional and Founder, List Co.

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