Strong coverage is a result of strong pitching – but what does this entail?
I have only been at Neo PR for a short amount of time so far. In my five months, I’ve seen the team achieve a staggering amount of high-quality coverage across a mix of broadcast, nationals and trade media for clients. These strong results stem from a team that is talented at media relations. We are highly motivated, agile and astute at building the necessary media relationships that make clients shine. This generally stems from strong media pitching, but what does this entail?
Getting to grips with client and sector knowledge
A crucial starting point is to know and understand your client and its sector, as well as the business issues at hand that they deal with. Where does their product fit in? Who are they targeting – what are the buying personas? What issues do they solve for this audience? Once we know this, we can develop appropriate stories, target media lists and pitch strategies.
Content is king
Content forms the basis of all pitching. Sure, you can have a relationship with a publication that opens an ear to listening to a story idea. But if the content is not sufficiently strong enough in a journalist’s eyes, it could potentially be rejected. In some cases, clients are on different brand journeys when it comes to developing content. We’ve worked with start-ups and growth brands to develop their content strategies; which feed into wider content marketing; and, we’ve worked with more mature brands to re-work and pitch existing content within the media.
For example, we recently worked with Manhattan Associates to develop a media-led survey, which discussed the latest opening of non-essential retail in England – covering consumers’ views about this. This survey was turned into three separate media alerts and proactively pitched into media. Our effective media relations achieved coverage in The Daily Express, The Independent and Charged Retail.
Pitching takes on many forms
Sometimes, creating media opportunities is not always achieved through developing and pitching survey-led content to press. There’s a wide array of ways to create and pitch for media opportunities.
We track upcoming feature opportunities and pitch insights from our clients to be considered by the press. For example, we achieved coverage in The Grocer for our client James and James which saw them contribute to an important feature and debate about direct-to-consumer commerce.
Knowing the news agenda is important too. By tuning into the discussion around the recent UK budget announcement, we pre-prepared rapid response commentary about this announcement and pitched our client’s opinion to the media. This happened to be James and James, too, and coverage was achieved in Modern Retail and Retail Systems.
Aside from this, we often pitch in press releases, media alerts and thought-leadership to the media. The list of coverage we achieve here for our clients is endless. For our client, Giacom, we developed and placed a news-lead story about the opportunity for resellers in the channel and achieved stellar results in the likes of Channel Info, Channel Futures and ChannelPro. And for ReachFive, we often develop and secure thought-leadership article placements in important retail media, such as Internet Retailing, Retail Technology Review and Talk Retail – based on strong opinion and content. In addition, in a similar vein, we recently achieved national coverage for Consultus in Newsweek.
Longer-term relationship building
Then, we have the idea of longer-term media relationship building which yields results down the line. It can take a little bit of perseverance and ongoing communication with some journalists, which eventually leads to coverage.
Achieving this involves bouncing ideas off contacts – calls, emails, social media pitching – asking them what they’re writing and generally engaging with them in a way that delivers value to them and their readers. We often act as middlemen for ideas and so we enable that transaction of ideas to take place.
Referring to the Independent coverage for Manhattan Associates – aside from leaning on a strong piece of survey-led news, we also created a relationship for our client with the Independent before sharing the news that, ultimately, led to the coverage we presented to our client. So, sometimes, there can be many steps and layers to pitching the media, which leads to the required results in the end.
Client knowledge, content, different pitch approaches at different times, and relationship building are all crucial factors that drive reputation development and media coverage for our clients. And while there are many agencies that follow a similar approach to us, what sets us apart is our team. Neo PR has an account management team of media experts that have deep domain sector expertise (and if we don’t have it, we know how to get it, fast). We are hungry for coverage. We are focused on quality, making our clients’ lives easier and – delivering the coverage results that matter.