Do you target your content pitches and press releases appropriately?

multiple arrows being fired into a wall
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Earlier this year Hubspot surveyed 500 journalists about PR tactics for pitching stories that were counter-productive (link to piece at the bottom).

That’s the polite way of saying they drew up a list of what irks journalists.

I’m sure there won’t be anything on the list to surprise seasoned PR’s – and this isn’t a post about dos and don’ts* – but there is one broader lesson: ‘Know the audience’.

Research the audience

When pitching to journalists this means not only knowing their patch but also understanding the publication/website and who its audience is.

I’ve worked with many brilliant PR’s over the years but the one who regularly sent me stories about window boxes wasn’t one of them.

One look at the content in Estates Gazette, where I was a features editor for 20 years, would have told them not to waste their time.

Don’t get deleted

I don’t know if they were in-house or worked for an agency because their name quickly got associated with the delete button.

It’s amazing how many PRs still use email lists that have obviously been bought or scraped from websites.

When I set up this website, it wasn’t long before I started getting press releases when it is clear that I don’t write for publications and therefore not in a position to give them coverage.

Don’t be a nuisance email

It is the same for my theatre blog.

The number of press releases that aren’t remotely theatre-related just keeps rising.

And few emails have the option to unsubscribe.

The point is that if you send out content pitches or press releases without thinking of the audience of that particularly publication or website then you are wasting your time.

Bad habits

It is easy in the day to day rush to get into the habit of hitting send so you can tick something off your to-do list. 

However, a qualitative approach may not only yield better take-up, it also helps to build a good relationship with journalists.

* How to pitch to B2B journalists is something I can talk about as part of my writing workshops.

You might also like to read:

How to make ‘interesting’ content more engaging.

Media training that demystifies B2B journalism

Why engagement is an important part of content marketing


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