Writers and editors are curious by nature. We’re always looking for the next great story, and when we find it, we share.
Here are a few tips to help you help the press find a story we can share about you.
Tailor your pitch to the market
Business and consumer magazines address different audiences. In general, business-to-business publications aren’t terribly interested in consumer-oriented news like sales or the latest seasonal fashions unless that information directly impacts other businesses or could serve as an example of an uncommon marketing tactic. In the latter case, lead with the market implications when approaching a writer or editor.
Pitch to the right person
Most publications designate a small group of people to dole out assignments. Take the time to find out who those individuals are and direct all pitches to them. Contacting the right person is more efficient than blanketing the entire staff with the same email, and you’ll probably see your success rate rise.
Find a unique angle
When the industry was young, an entrepreneur’s personal cannabis journey was enough to sell a story to the media. That’s no longer the case, especially with trade publications. Almost everyone in the industry has a heartwarming story about how cannabis changed their life, but unless that story is about cannabis curing zombiism, it’s probably not going to attract much attention on its own. Instead, dig deeper and find some aspect of the business, product, service, or entrepreneur that has implications for the industry at large. Is there a lesson to be learned, strategies others may employ, or a truly revolutionary idea from which other companies might gain insight into their own situation? Like many other things in life, reading is transactional: Readers are more likely to engage with material that clearly answers the question “What’s in it for me?” Find the “what” your company offers, pitch it, and you’ll likely see your story in print.
If at first you don’t succeed, try another approach
Always take what you believe is your best shot first, but if you don’t hit the target on the first try, pitch a wholly different idea. Not every story is a good fit for every publication, but almost every company has more than one story to tell. Persistence counts, but remember: There’s a fine line between persistence and nuisance.
If you can include photos, charts, graphs, or illustrations with your pitch, do so. People are visual creatures. An intriguing image may pique an editor’s curiosity, nudging a “maybe” into a “yes.”
One more thing: Unless you have an existing relationship with a writer or editor, always pitch by email and always include contact information in the body of the message. Technology can be fickle and finicky, especially when material is submitted via an online form or a “catchall” address. Make double-sure the media has a way to get in touch.
And don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear from someone; silence isn’t a personal rebuff. Many publications receive hundreds of pitches a week and can tackle only a few. Feel free to send one follow-up in case the initial email was buried beneath an avalanche or eaten by server gremlins, but in general a lack of response means the pitch didn’t meet the publication’s current needs. Try again with something else. Eventually, your desire for coverage and the publication’s need for content will collide in a way that will make everyone happy.