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CEO Thought Leadership Series from Trade Show

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Do You Know How to Pitch to the Media?

Doug Simon (@DSSimonDoug), CEO of D S Simon Media spoke with Michael Smart (@MichaelSmartPR) of Michael Smart PR at the PR News Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C., about how to craft email pitches to the media.

In today’s vlog, Doug spoke with Michael Smart of Michael Smart PR about writing the right email to pitch your product/story to outlets, how video content can help sell the pitch, and some interesting ways to create pitches to outlets.

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Video Transcript:
Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Simon from D S Simon Media at the PR News’ Media Relations Conference with Michael Smart, one of the top thinkers on the media getting your pitch out there, getting your story in place. Thanks so much for being with us.

Michael: Always a pleasure, Doug.

D: Great. Now, you had a chance to look through the Brand Video Communications Report that DS Simon Media did with Talkwalker. What were some of the things that maybe surprised you or caught your eye?

M: Something that definitely stood out was the degree to which publishers agree to use third-party video, basically our video from PR people. I think the numbers– and you can smooth this out for me– is 71% of such publishers said, yeah, they use third party video. And a whopping 80% of those will use it unedited. So I think there’s a lot of room for PR people to reference and include links to video in their pitches.

D: Absolutely. We’re actually starting to find out that you can actually use video content to feed your social media and then use that social media video to pitch media, because obviously, you look at creative ways of pitching media. What’s the role and importance of using other content to catch their attention?

M: Well, I think what you’re talking about is, you get some traction for some content on social. I interviewed a Today Show producer last month. And a lot of PR folks think they have to have exclusive content to get on Today, for example.

M: And she said, actually, no. When we see good social metrics, that shows it’s something that’s captivating our audience. And it removes some risk for us in devoting our precious airtime to something.

M: Interestingly, one of the way to help build up those social metrics is using that content and sharing it with media, whether it’s trade or on a wider level. They’ll start looking at– Some will post. You’ll start getting more pickup, because part of that 80% number of using the whole video includes linking to your entire video, which also improves SEO. It’s sort of a win-win-win all around.

M: Yeah. I think that SEO piece is important. A lot of traditional PR people think that the value is only in the resulting placement. But the placement could not even contain your messages. But as long as you get that link back, it’s boosting your Google juice enough that it justifies the work that you put into it.

D: Yeah, and the study found 77% of agency folks feel it’s harder to earn media. One thing that 85% of them say is making it harder is their clients are trying to be too commercial and not letting them tell their best story. How do you advise people to overcome that?

M: Well, I think one really pragmatic approach is what we just talked about. And that is, explain to the client, hey, let me do my thing. I know this journalist or this blogger. I know what’s going to work with them. Let me get the placement for you, get the link back. And you don’t have to look over my shoulder on every piece of messaging that I use.

M: And the second thing, Doug, is I like hearing that people think that it’s harder than ever to get media coverage, because it places a bigger premium on those who can do it right and do it well. Like, we get better rewarded for being able to pull off that rare and valuable skill.

D: Well, that’s great, and thanks. And at my session today, there were a couple of people who didn’t hold their hands up when we asked if it’s getting harder to earn media. And like, those are the people you want to hire.

M: Exactly. Yeah, if they weren’t just not paying attention.

D: Could have been that. Thanks so much for being with us. Have a great day.

M: Thanks for having me.