If securing media coverage for your law firm is your mission, the pitch is the key to making it a reality. After you have researched the best media outlets and determined the story you want to pitch, it’s time to reach out to a journalist, blogger or influencer to spread your message. However, that doesn’t mean you should just start firing emails left and right. Making the perfect pitch is a process that requires time and effort to ensure the best chance of success for your firm.
Build a Relationship
Think of pitching to the media like you would dating. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone at the bar and ask them on a date. You start a conversation and build a relationship over time before taking that next step. Your dealings with journalists should be the same way, and there are plenty of avenues for developing your relationship with media members.
- Introduce yourself – If your firm is starting its media relations practices from scratch, reaching out to a beat writer or reporter is an easy way to give them an idea of who you are and what you do.
- Follow their work – Reading and engaging with a journalist’s content will allow you to personalize your pitch when the time comes, increasing the likelihood of landing a story for your firm. You can even take it a step further by following them on social media and sharing their work with your own followers. Journalists want their content to be read just as much as your firm does.
- Be sincere – While you may see your interactions with the media as a means to an end for securing coverage for your firm, being genuine and kind will go a long way toward building and maintaining a working relationship.
Engage, Don’t Sell
A journalist’s top priority is sharing relevant and interesting stories with the public. They aren’t in partnership with your firm and likely won’t be interested in any fluff pieces about a big case you just won or any recognition you have received. Rather than reaching out to tell a media member that they should write about your firm, focus on how you can provide expertise on an important trending topic.
This practice can also be used when you seemingly don’t have any stories to pitch. If there’s nothing newsworthy happening at your firm, reach out to local media members and offer to be a resource on any stories they may be working on. While it may not immediately result in a mention for your firm, it will put you at the top of their mind the next time they need a source. Remember, positioning your firm and attorneys as thought leaders in your industry is one of the primary goals of securing media coverage.
Carefully Include Newsjacking
In the era of social media, there’s always breaking news stories circulating. Whether it’s something that’s happening far away or right in your own city, these trending topics present opportunities for your firm to capitalize on the popularity of a story and be a part of it. However, it must be done quickly. Outside of continuing narratives like the upcoming presidential election, trending news stories come and go in a few days. Wait too long to be a part of the story and it will be old news at that point.
This is also a practice that should be done delicately. Take the COVID-19 outbreak, for example. There are certainly chances for your firm to pitch a related story to the media, but remember that this is a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people in just the United States and should not be taken lightly.
Personalize Every Pitch
When it comes time to actually write the pitch, put yourself in a journalist’s shoes. They wouldn’t write the exact same story twice and you shouldn’t write the exact same pitch twice. That doesn’t mean that you can’t pitch the same idea to more than one outlet, but each pitch should be personalized for the recipient.
By studying the market for your target audience, you can determine the best media outlets to deliver the message of your firm. Use that information you have compiled as you draft your pitch. Note the coverage area of the journalist you’re pitching and make a reference to some of their previous related work. Many media members, particularly those that have been around the business for a while, can sense the lack of authenticity with a one-size-fits-all pitch and will be less inclined to share your story.
As is the case with all aspects of marketing and communications, practice makes perfect with media pitching. You won’t become a professional overnight and even some of your most well-written pitches may still fail to garner coverage for your firm. Don’t get caught up in the wins and losses. Stay confident, follow the same guidelines and your firm will be collecting news mentions and features in no time. If you need any help securing those wins, give us a call. With our legal experience, we can help you shortcut the process.
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