Your first conference is always quite a daunting experience, so when I found out I was going to be speaking at BrightonSEO for my first time I was nervous but very excited. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to attend in person and it was all online but I’m still glad I got to be a part of such a great event.
My talk was all about the importance of changing up your PR tactics including, your campaigns, press releases, pitch emails and subject lines. All of which are really important in getting the most out of your outreach. The top journalists are coming out and saying that they’re getting upwards of 800+ emails a day, so if you’re not targeting your pitch to them how can you expect it to stand out and be seen.
The tactics that I would suggest for PR campaigns are:
- Diversifying your campaigns with a variety of different angles
- Writing multiple press releases
- Changing up your pitch emails
- Using different subject lines for the publication
When creating your campaign, it’s good to develop more than one angle so you’re not pigeonholing yourself. The more angles you have within your campaign then the more publications and journalists you’re able to pitch to and therefore increasing your chances of getting results, as the more relevant contacts you pitch to the better.
If your campaign has more than one angle to it then it also expands what you can provide asset wise as well, if you can provide lots of different assets to the journalists as well then it’s making it easier for journalists, and as mentioned above they’re very busy and inundated with pitches so if you’ve got everything they will need to cover it then will be easier for them to feature it. The assets you can include with a PR campaign are:
- Case Studies
- Expert comments
- Client comments
Different journalists and publications require different things to cover a story, some places need data and stats, some require visuals and lots of nationals like to have case studies to add the element of a real life story, so ensuring you’re prepared before you outreach will cover ground.
All of the above will lead to the niches you can pitch to and the more angles and assets you have before then the more different niches you will make your campaign relevant for.
When creating your press releases you should write one for each different angle you have from your campaign, as you need to make sure you’re sending the relevant release to the right people. If you’re sending one blanket press release to all the different niches then it isn’t going to be relevant for the majority of them and therefore this will hinder your chances of it being picked up.
You should also change up your style of press release as well, and trial it out in your outreach to see what works best for your client. We create longer more detailed releases and we also do shorter more brief press releases too, the longer ones work well for the more niche publications and the more to the point brief releases work better for the big nationals and consumer lifestyle publications who want to have a topline summary of what the piece is so it’s easier to read and figure out if it’s something they want to cover.
The pitch email is the first thing the journalist will read that gives detail of what the campaign is about so it’s really important that this is really reflective of all the work that’s been put in prior to this point.
Again, with the pitch emails you should also try out brief and detailed styles as different journalists prefer different types of pitches and this is another thing you can test out to see what works best for your campaign. We have been trying out some longer pitch emails and then saying we have a press release if needed and we have seen the success of our campaigns increasing with this.
Of course, we all know that you should personalise your pitch emails with the journalists name to make it more targeted to them but it’s also about ensuring that it’s relevant for them – make sure you’re doing your research and that this is the best journalist to send your campaign to, as this is vital in achieving results.
The subject line is so important in outreach, as not only is this the first thing a journalist is going to see but this is the one piece of work that will lead to your pitch email being opened or not, so you can put all the work in before the subject line but if you don’t get that right then the work is wasted.
A great way to grab the attention of a journalist with your subject line is by adapting it to their style of writing, this is more likely to catch their eye and also they will be able to envision how this would fit in their publication if it’s in the same style. If you’re pitching to The Sun and The Guardian, they’re not going to cover the story in the same way at all, so why would you pitch to them in the same way. Research into the headlines of the publications and adapt your subject line to suit that.
There are also some keywords that work well, such as, revealed, survey, data, % etc. You will also be able to use online tools to check your subject lines, like Subject Line Grader which will give you a rating and advice on what you can do to improve it based on length, words used, etc.
- One size doesn’t fit all
- Don’t pigeonhole your campaign
- Write more than one press release
- Adapt your pitch and subject line for the publication
- Don’t be afraid to try new things!
Hopefully, this will provide you with some useful tips for your campaigns.