So you've been tasked with pulling together a media list, or culling out a specific set of editors for a particular project, event or story angle. Whether you're using a media database, a media list from PR Couture, or putting something together from scratch, you'll find a ton of potential editors to contact at a single publication. The question becomes, do we pitch them all or do we just pitch a few? Which editor is best for which clients? After all, it's not like that name and email address comes with a list of preferences!
Media outreach can be overwhelming because not only are there tons and tons of publications to pitch, there are lots of contacts at each publication. You want to make sure you are doing your best to make your lists as targeted and effective as possible.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind as you build your next list (and be sure to check out PR Couture's Editor Interviews for additional tips straight from editors themselves):
DON’T pitch the Editor in Chief (or the Publisher)
For national publications, never pitch the Editor in Chief, as they simply aren't involved in the day-to-day operations that that granular of a level. EIC's guide the overall vision of a particular issue, and sign off on stories that are already complete, but it's not their job to develop or write individual stories or roundups. Of course, as with everything in PR there isn’t a one size fits all policy. If it is a small regional publication, the Editor in Chief might be the only media contact and the correct person to pitch. Check and see if the EIC is actually writing most of the articles first to double check before reaching out.
DO pitch people lower on the totem pole
When I am pulling a list, I am always try to pay attention to the assistant and associate editors. They are in a position to recommend a story or product to their editor, and are often more likely to answer emails.
DO pitch the market editor
For fashion stories, market editors are important because it is their job to know what is on the market (ie: trends). Often in charge of pulling pieces for stories and photoshoots, you'll want to be heavy on the images in your pitch, and be ready to send samples for consideration.
DON’T pitch marketing or advertising contacts
Many times when you pull a list from a PR database it will include people in the marketing department. You want to stay away from those people. They are trying to sell you ads, and don’t work on the editorial side.
DO modify your pitch based on editor title
Look for contacts people that cover your beat, for example, accessories, menswear, home décor, beauty, etc. It might not always be possible to get that specific with every publication, but there is typically at least a fashion editor, accessories and a beauty editor. Pitch accordingly.
DON’T pitch anchors or hosts
If you are pitching radio or TV, make sure you are looking for the producers or guest bookers. Those are the people that put together the actual segments. They have a say in what will make it on to air, not the on-air talent.
Spending time building the right list of media contacts is an incredibly important part of the pitch process. If you create a solid list, chances are you will get more placements…easy as that!
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