Just like any other marketing activity, the first thing you have to think about when you’re looking to get yourself covered by the media is ensuring the media you’re targeting is relevant to your target audience. What does that mean?
Sometimes we have a bad habit of idolizing publications, websites or blogs. But if our target audience (the people likely to buy our services) isn’t reading those, then there’s no sense in targeting your work toward their editors.
To start to uncover where your target audience is hanging out, it’s pretty simple. Ask some of your best customers what they read? You might be surprised; it might be things you’ve never thought of (or even heard of!). But ta-da! After a few of these conversations you’ll have a list of targeted places to pitch your work.
Follow these 7 key steps to effectively pitch the media:
1. Make a list of all the possible relevant sources you can think of that your audience reads or watches regularly. These can be print publications, blogs, videos, podcasts or really anything your audience checks out (HINT: I’m a big Evernote fan and use it to keep a running list that I can always easily add to). This is a never-ending list. So even if you start with a handful, keep adding to it. The more places you can be where your target audience is looking, the better.
2. Find out who decides which photographers get coverage at each place and make a list of contacts.
3. Think about what story, what images, what project, etc. is relevant for each contact and jot a note next to each name.
4. Take a deep breathe and remind yourself that rejection is to be expected.
5. Begin reaching out to each person one-by-one via phone or email.
6. In your introduction, be sure to tell them what info, images, stories, etc. you’re able to provide that you feel their readers will find interesting.
7. If the editor seems interested and asks for samples or more info, be sure to follow up with the requested info right away.
More than likely, the majority of these editors will reject you. Getting down about the rejection is pointless, and be sure to keep reminding yourself of that. The important part is getting that bite or two of interest and moving quickly toward those opportunities.
Two bonus tips:
1. Make it really easy for them.
There is also one really important aspect of pitching to the media that few people realize. With this bit of information, you’ll be able to outshine other people trying to do the same thing as you.
People in the media are stretched to the limits. The very people you pitch probably work longer and harder than you do.
So what, you say?
Well, if you’re able to make their jobs easier, they’ll be more likely to cover you. What I mean is, if you follow their exact instructions and do the writing, the resizing, the tagging, and whatever else for them, there’s a better chance you’ll be covered. Yes, these editors want good content, but they also really want to publish good content that isn’t incredibly time consuming. And when you do some of the work for them, it makes it easier for this to happen.
2. Make sure to infuse some of your branding into your pitch.
In other words, don’t make the piece about photographs only. Remember who is reading this piece, and if you created your list accurately, it’s people that may one day hire you or otherwise partner with you. They don’t just want to see your work. They want to learn about you, what you’re about, your passions and, ultimately, what makes you different. Be sure to supply this information to the editor, also. He or she probably won’t do a great job of representing you on his or her own without it.