The other day I was sitting at the computer reading through my HARO inquires. If you’re not familiar with HARO, you should get to know this handy free publicity tool. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) sends three emails a day with inquiries from reporters looking for experts on a range of topics (from healthcare, to travel, parenting and business). I’ve been mentioned a few times on some great blogs, including a recent feature about a day in my life on Yahoo! Education.
The writer of the Yahoo! piece, Charyn Pfeuffer, was a joy to work with and has tons of experience writing for some well-known media outlets. Over the past 15 years, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including AOL, Condé Nast Digital Media, DailyCandy.com, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, FoodandWine.com, Marie Claire, National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, SPA, Sunset, TravelandLeisure.com and Yahoo! She’s very much a think-big-and-make-things-happen kind of gal (and you know I love those kind of gals) who loves to use media tools to share experiences and cultivate engagement.
When I started thinking about the perfect pitch, I knew I had to ask her. Like I said, Charyn is awesome, so she’s provided us with…
5 Tips for Pitching a Reporter
- Ask the journalist how she prefers to be pitched. I don’t like talking on the phone, nor do I like interrupting a productive groove for unsolicited pitches. If you’re in my inbox, I can read and respond at my own leisure.
- Know what the journalist covers and who they write for. Nothing says you haven’t done your homework like pitching me for publications I haven’t written for in a decade.
- When you’re using HARO, read the query and pitch what is requested and only if it’s a good fit. Unless otherwise stated, assume the journalist is on assignment and is looking for specific information. If he/she is looking to interview a doctor, now is not the time to pitch your dentist client. Ditto for suggesting an entirely new angle that better suits your client’s needs.
- Don’t follow-up incessantly. I frequently receive dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of responses to HARO queries. This is in addition to the dozens of unsolicited pitches in my inbox on a daily basis. As much as I’d like to thank every person who pitches me something, I don’t have time. So, I try to acknowledge pitches from people I have relationships with and put a disclaimer on my HARO queries that says I’ll respond if and only if the pitch is a good match. Don’t be the publicist that follows up within an hour of emailing a HARO pitch (or three times in as many hours like someone recently did).
- Personalize your pitch. Nothing makes me hit delete faster than a generic “To whom it may concern” greeting or misspelling my name.
Thanks, Charyn for sharing with all of us.
If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for HARO today. And, if you’re on the mailing list, check all three of today’s emails and see if there’s something worth pitching (and use these tips). For all you guys and girls that have this PR thing down, share your tips with us in the comments section!
As you’ve probably figured out by now, most businesses won’t just market themselves. Sometimes you have to put on your thinking cap and get the word out about what you do. That’s what I love about Meghan. She’s spent this year really getting out there to promote her photography business and coming up with creative ideas to make a splash. I’m so excited that she’s willing to share some of those great tips with us!
Hi, I’m Meghan, owner and principle photographer behind Meghan Christine Photography!
To be honest, when Donna asked me to write some “tips” for her 12 Days of Christmas blog series, I really had no idea what to write about. While I love what I do, it’s slightly intimidating to think about giving photography suggestions to others! And then, all of a sudden, it hit me. In the past few days, I have had more than one person ask me about my secret to networking and getting so many blog features. Here’s my story…
The first wedding I ever shot was a beautiful DIY event with a budget of only $2200. Once I knew that, it crossed my mind that the blog Budget Savvy Bride may want to take a look at how such a small budget produced such a creative wedding. To my joy, Budget Savvy Bride loved it, and wanted to feature it. That feature yielded three wedding inquires and two bookings (one of which was out of state). That one experience opened my eyes to the influence that blogs could have to make a name for myself in the photography world.
So, here they are. My top 3 tips to get a blog feature:
- Build relationships. Start by building relationships with blogs! The ways I have been able to do this most is via Facebook and Twitter. Get to know them and what they are about, and in turn, they will get to know you.
- Submit, submit, submit! No matter what kind of photography you do, there are blogs featuring your style. Personally, I look for wedding blogs, family blogs and baby blogs, as those are the types of shoots I want to book. Whatever your niche, find a blog whose target audience matches your own. Side note: Most blogs are exclusive, so make sure you read that blog’s specific requirements before submitting!
- Don’t get discouraged. Believe me, with as often as it seems I have been featured, I’ve been rejected by blogs even more. The key is to not give up! Blogs get a TON of submissions daily, and they are typically looking for pretty specific content. While your submission may be beautiful or great work, it just may not be a good fit for their blog at the time. But another blog may adore it, so keep on trying!
Today, I came across an article (posted on Twitter by a photographer friend of mine) about how the Daily Mail — a newspaper in the UK — used a photo on its web publication when the photographer had expressly asked the publication (in writing) not to.
Basically, a blogger had taken a number of photos showing what she deemed “anorexic-looking mannequins” on display in a Gap store. Her photos were picked up by a number of other blogs with her permission and photo credit. Due to the buzz that surrounded the conversation, the Daily Mail contacted her (via email) to see if they could also use the images on their site. What ensued was a price negotiation (with the blogger asking for the money to go to charity), which resulted in the Mail claiming they could not afford the photos and the blogger explaining that in light of that fact, they were not approved to use them.
That’s when things went wrong.
The Mail opted to use the photos on its site anyway. Not only did they use them, they did not provide any photo credit or a link back to the original source. Needless to say, the blogger found out her work had been stolen and took to the Internet to complain. Now, the fact of the matter is, I (and seemingly most of the people reading her article) don’t understand the legality of their actions. But, that really doesn’t matter because when I read her post my perception was, “just another example of the big guy cheating the little guy.” And, perception is reality.
So far, (since its posting yesterday 8/16) she’s received almost 100 blog comments, plus hundreds of shares on Twitter and Facebook. Plus, when I did a Google News search for Daily Mail, the first nine stories were covering the “theft.” As of my reading, the Mail has made no comment about the story. Also, when you visit the Mail’s story you’ll notice that they’ve disabled the comments.
So how should the Mail have handled this situation?:
- Don’t steal!
- Make your terms and conditions clear up front
- Never underestimate the power of the little guy (especially in these economic times) people are feeling downtrodden, don’t give them a reason to single you out as making matters worse
- Admit to your mistakes. The editor who had the conversation with the blogger should have immediately made a public apology and offered to make the charitable contribution that the blogger initially requested
- Don’t stop your readers from commenting on your stories. News is bound to cause buzz, and if the feedback is too hot to handle, maybe you should change what you’re doing.