Have you ever pitched a content campaign that you knew would knock the socks off a journalist, and receive abundant backlinks? Instead, two weeks into pitching you have no backlinks to your campaign and your only response from journalists is, “Please remove me from your press list.”
Although crushing, take this as an opportunity to learn from a journalist’s rejection. We can’t guarantee every campaign is going to be a home run, but we can guarantee to our clients that we are putting in 100% on every content campaign.
Below, I’ll outline seven ways you can (almost always) guarantee your client receives coverage from your promotional efforts:
1.Do your research
This may seem like common sense, but doing your research on the client is essential. What is their industry? What topics do they cover on their blog? If you pitch something super tangential, will it seem too random?
It is important to think about these things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pitched a campaign for a client and the response from a journalist was, “What does this have to do with [client]?” or “Why did [client] do this study?”
You always want to make sure your campaigns have a clear tie-in to your client’s brand so when you are pitching journalists, they will have fewer questions about the campaign’s validity.
2. Check the news
This has never seemed as important as it does right in this moment. 2020 has been a “breaking news” year. From COVID-19 to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, this year has been full of heavy news coverage. It is vital to make sure that the campaigns you are brainstorming are going to fit into the current news cycle. You don’t want to pitch something that may make you or your client look insensitive to the news happening around us.
If you’re not sure how to pitch the content you’re working on, don’t worry. I’ve previously shared some tips on how to pitch lighthearted content campaigns during a heavy news cycle on the Go Fish Digital Linkedin.
3. Thorough brainstorm process
A brainstorm is where the magic happens in content marketing. This is when all the creative juices start flowing and the ideas get out of your head and onto paper – or since it’s 2020, onto a Google Doc. At Go Fish Digital, we love to brainstorm. We brainstorm multiple times a week and it’s our chance to bounce ideas off each other, veto ideas, say yes to ideas, and turn what seems like an “okay” idea into a “great” idea.
Brainstorming is so essential to coming up with creative content campaigns that your clients and journalists will love. You never know what insight your team might have into what journalists have said they are looking for or what kind of content they’ve seen get a lot of coverage recently. A thorough brainstorming process ensures you’re pitching unique content, as well.
One last step before you send your final campaign to a client…review! You want to make sure that the data makes sense, there are no errors in graphics, the idea hasn’t been done a million times before!
Once the campaign goes into outreach or promotion mode, all errors are out in the public and landing in the email boxes of journalists who are not shy to criticize. If a campaign goes out with errors, it will almost always cut back your chance of getting coverage because you are no longer a trusted source.
5. Personalize outreach
Before your campaign goes into outreach, make sure you know what beats and journalists you are targeting. If you have an idea of which direction you want to take the campaign, you can personalize your outreach to certain beats or journalists. One way to do this is to pull out certain data points or highlight a certain section of the campaign you’re pitching.
6. Pitch, pitch, pitch
Now that you have all of your ducks in a row, it’s time to start outreach and begin pitching. Your outreach email should be personalized and ready to go while your press list should have writers from all your target beats.
Once you start pitching you are either going to notice strong positive responses, neutral responses but journalists are covering, or negative responses and no coverage. If you are having negative feedback and not receiving any coverage, this is where you move into the next step of reevaluating.
(PS. Hopefully, if you’ve followed the above steps, you won’t find yourself at step 7).
Let’s hope you don’t find yourself here, but as I said at the beginning, not every campaign is going to be a home run.
If you find that your campaign isn’t going well, there are a lot of things you can do to steer your campaign back on track. You can rewrite your outreach message and subject line to make sure you are highlighting the most interesting information in the campaign, you can pick a new beat to target, you can take a new look at the data and see if there was anything you missed that could be interesting, and many other tactics.
Once you reevaluate your campaign and start pitching again, cross your fingers and hope it goes right this time!
You should feel 100% confident in every campaign you send out to a journalist. There shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind that this campaign might not get coverage. If that is a thought you find yourself having, take a few steps back before you pitch and ask yourself why you are feeling that way and what you can do to make the campaign better. Follow these steps and you should be on your way to a happy client with lots of backlinks to your content campaign.
Tina Irizarry is a journalist turned content marketer. She is currently the Content Marketing Manager at Go Fish Digital, but still carries with her a love of news and uses it in her marketing career almost daily. Tina specializes in the promotion of creative content campaigns and enjoys the excitement of receiving a new backlink for a client.
Twitter handle: @TinaGoFish
This blog post was written by a guest contributor. The views within this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of AMA Triangle.