You just released your new product. You’ve written your press release highlighting the amazing things it does, and now you’re ready to start contacting journalists in hopes of landing media attention for your newest and best effort.
But your efforts might get ignored by members of the media, and not because your product is lame or insignificant. When that happens, it might be because you didn’t use the right pitch or pitched the wrong person.
A “pitch” is named after a baseball pitch – just like a pitcher throws a baseball, you “throw” information at reporters in hopes they will “swing” at the idea and cover your story. Unlike baseball, you don’t want your batters to miss – you want them to hit it out of the park and get you “play” in their media outlets. But if you don’t pitch your story the right way, reporters won’t want to write about it.
For established companies, startups and entrepreneurs, the business and trade press are some of the best outlets to seek coverage from – because that’s where your audiences are. But there are differences in how to approach each. While both kinds of outlets appeal to people interested in business outcomes, their audiences have different expectations. If your pitch doesn’t address those specific expectations, reporters aren’t likely to be interested.
Business News Outlets
Business press outlets generally cover broad business information. They report on major business news of the day, including the financial markets, banking, M&A developments, venture capital, industry growth, business trends, personal finance, politics and general lifestyle stories. Some well-known business outlets include the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, the New York Times, Reuters, the Financial Times, Barron’s, Investor’s Business Daily, CNBC, CNN Business, Business Insider, Crain’s, FOX Business, Forbes, Fortune, Inc. Magazine and TechCrunch.
To earn coverage in a business press outlet, it’s often crucial to provide not just information about a business change or new product, service or trend that affects a great many people, but also financial information about a company or business move. Typically, annual revenue, growth or sales numbers are expected. No financial information? You probably won’t get coverage. This can be a big barrier for privately held companies that don’t want to – or can’t – divulge their financials.
If you believe your story is a good fit for the business press, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions before pitching to journalists:
- How many people will your product/service/breakthrough affect? If the answer is “thousands,” “hundreds of thousands” or even “millions,” it might be a good business story.
- Is your product/service/breakthrough so unique it could change people’s lives and businesses significantly? If so, that also might appeal to the business press.
- Is your company involved in a large or otherwise significant merger or acquisition? That usually garners attention in the business press.
- Have your company’s financials exceeded expectations, and are you willing to share those numbers? That also gets attention in business news outlets.
Landing coverage in the larger general business outlets can be difficult for start-ups or smaller companies; it’s a crowded arena where size matters. There are exceptions, however. If what your business does or has done is highly unusual or groundbreaking, that news could get a business outlet’s attention. If, on the other hand, your story isn’t exciting enough that it breaks a mold but is still of interest within your industry, you might want to consider pitching industry – also known as “trade” – outlets to garner coverage.
Trade News Outlets
Trade press outlets focus solely on information about specific industries. These outlets cover in-depth news about one particular industry and often dive into details and backstories about business moves, issues, trends and personnel changes. Well-known trade publications include Ad Age, Publishers Weekly, Variety, EE Times, American Banker, Financial Advisor, ALM Media, Law360, American Lawyer, the ABA Journal, Investment Week, Journal of the American Medical Association, Columbia Journalism Review, Pensions & Investments, Medscape and The Hill.
There are also numerous trade outlets that are well-known only in their specific industry – but that doesn’t make them less important. In fact, some small- to mid-size trade outlets can be more influential than larger, general business media outlets because their audience primarily comprises the insiders and heavy-hitters in that genre – think SupplyChainBrain, Mergermarket, ThinkAdvisor, Legaltech News, Legal IT Insider, The Legal Intelligencer, Governing, VentureBeat, Computerworld or TechTarget.
Earning coverage in the trade press hinges on how journalists perceive a company, product, service, announcement or trend affects that particular industry. It’s up to you to show how your information is newsworthy for your industry. Questions to think about before you start pitching to trade publications include:
- What’s your “hook” or angle? Is it a groundbreaking new product or service in your industry?
- Is your product/service/merger/move something that will generate work for your industry or make people’s lives easier or more efficient?
- How many people or competitors will it affect? Does that new product shift the landscape – not just for clients but also for competitors?
- Will the move/merger/product/service lower costs for clients and/or for the industry itself?
It’s also important to consider the sources you can supply to trade reporters. The more sources you offer who can attest to the importance of your story to a particular market, the more inclined reporters will be to write about it.
Like all reporters, those who cover a specific industry need to feature trusted sources to flesh out their stories. Offering yourself as a resource, along with a client or investor who can speak to the merits of your news, will make the reporter’s job easier, as well as provide third-party validation.
It also is helpful to make yourself available for interviews, not just about your story but for other stories that explore events or trends affecting your industry. If reporters know you’re willing to be quoted about certain topics, they might include you in their piece. They get a story, and you get increased exposure in your field. Industry outlets are also typically more willing to feature thought-leadership articles written by you or another member of your executive team than general business outlets will be.
Connecting with the Right Reporters
While anyone can reach out to news outlets, knowing the most effective ways to find the right journalists to feature your story is difficult. The most efficient way is to work with a trusted public relations professional who knows the best ways to deliver your message and likely has established relationships with members of both the business and the industry press. Here at Plat4orm our team members have cultivated relationships with many reporters who cover a broad range of markets, and they will know immediately which outlet will be most interested in your story.
Plat4orm offers coaching to help you land the best placement for your campaign. Once we hear your goals, Plat4orm will pitch your story, report or product launch to the right media members, schedule meetings or demos of your product, and work with the reporter to provide follow-up information or handle next steps. Plat4orm also offers media training in advance of interviews, if necessary, for executive spokespersons.
Platform PR knows the right ways to pitch to the right outlets. To learn more about getting the best results for your marketing and PR campaigns please visit us at Home – Plat4orm.