It is important to have a media game plan. It is all about laying out which media targets you plan to approach and coming up with a hook or angle for all of the stories you plan to pitch. You want to stay organized and plot out your plan.
- Brainstorm media outlets: As you read newspapers, magazines or blogs or watch/listen to podcasts, television and radio shows, think about ways you and your company could be a natural fit. Be sure to write down the media outlets (magazines, papers, blogs, podcasts, television and radio shows). You want to compile a list of solid possible media outlets for future opportunities.
- Possible stories: As you are digesting media, start thinking about ways you could see journalists covering your business. Could you be the right expert for a family travel tip story? Or maybe it’s a story about stay-cations in your own community? Write down your ideas. You could go old school and have a notebook for these ideas or create a document on your computer. You want it to be a growing list for future pitches.
- When To Pitch: As you start looking over your list of media outlets and potential angles to use when you approach the media, think about the times throughout the year it would be bets to start pitching. It is important to keep lead times in mind. You need to figure out how far in advance you need to send out your pitches to journalists. For example…(these are not set in stone and you should get in with each specific outlet/journalist to find out what their lead times are)
- Magazines: could be 4-6 months
- Newspapers: could be 6-8 weeks
- Websites/Blogs: could be up to 4-6 weeks
- TV & radio (morning shows): could be up to 3-4 weeks
- Daily News: 1-2 weeks or even as short as few hours depending on stories ie. breaking news
After you have brainstormed media outlets, possible stories, and when to pitch you want to start getting all that information organized. Create the files, folders, and spreadsheets that will help you execute on that media game plan and get press success.
- Media Contact List: This is where you are going to put all those media outlets in a spreadsheet. You have brainstormed all those outlets you think would be a natural fit for you. Add them to your spreadsheet. I use Google Docs so it is always accessible. Start researching those outlets and the journalists who work there so that you can add names, positions, email addresses and phone numbers to your spreadsheet. You want to have a growing list of contacts so when you are ready to pitch a story all the contact details are right at hand.
- Story/Editorial Calendar: Add all the possible dates, events, seasons, and holidays to your calendar. You want to brainstorm as many stories, angles, and hooks for possible future pitches. This calendar will help you to generate story pitches that resonate with journalists so you can get press success and gain the publicity you want.
- Pitch List/Calendar: This is going to be those stories ideas and pitch ideas you have flushed out. You want to have these pitches on the list and calendar so you know when to send them off to the journalists targeted. This is where you will bring in all those lead times into play.
Creating these systems will help you better pitch stories to gain the publicity you want. Once you have these calendars and lists started be sure to spend time (30 to 60 hours a week) every week to continue to add to them. So when you are ready to send a story pitch you have all the resources you need to easily hit send on that email pitch!