Inexperienced Publicity Hounds make the frequent mistake of inundating media people with too much information. For example:
–Sending an unsolicited media kit along with a pitch letter, with grand illusions of the journalist spending hours poring over your materials. (Dream on).
–Sending an unsolicited book, with hopes that a radio talk show host will find it so enticing that she immediately invites you to be a guest on her show. (Sorry, but it won’t happen.)
–Attaching to a snail-mail pitch letter copies of 10 articles that have been written about you in various publications, with the expectation that an editor will be envious that his newspaper hasn’t yet interviewed you. (Save a few trees and don’t send all those reprints. One or two will do, and never from competing publications.)
When you’re contacting the media, less is more. The less time it takes you to catch their attention, the better your chance of being interviewed.
That said, keep these tips in mind the next time you pitch:
–The purpose of a news release is to encourage the reporter to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. Limit news releases to no more than a page. Use your best angle for the release, and save the details for the interview. If they like what they see and want more, they’ll ask.
–Don’t send books or media kits unless you know that a journalist wants to see them. This will save you lots of money and time, and your media contacts will be spared aggravation.
–Don’t write an article you want printed and expect the journalist to read it. Instead, send a short email or snail-mail query pitching the idea. If a newspaper or magazine wants the article, ask for the word count and deadline.
–Never, ever tell a journalist to visit your website to learn what you or your organization is about. It’s your job–not your website’s–to convince them you’re interesting.
It’s difficult to pitch a story in 30 seconds or less. But master publicist Raleigh Pinskey shows you how to do it, sometimes in as little as 5 seconds. She was my guest on a teleseminar last year called “How to Create the Perfect 30-Second Pitch.”