“If you’re chasing a January story, I’m going to give you a January answer.”
This is one of my favourite lines I heard a Chief of Staff deliver to a journalist, and pretty much summarises January for journos and why it’s the best time for PR.
In Australia, there is a wide stand down period across the business sector in late December/January. In fact, many businesses do not start ramping back up until the end of January.
For journalists, this means significantly less PR pitches and, pending world events, hard news stories. They need to be more proactive in finding stories because they aren’t being handed to them.
That makes January the best time for PR for your business.
If you’re looking at utilising public relations as part of your business strategy, consider planning in late December and launching in early/mid-January.
Yes you might have to cut your holidays short, maybe work a bit harder in the lead up to Christmas than you intended, but with the likelihood of a reaching a journo higher, you’d be crazy not to delay your Bali beachside plans for some extra coverage that could really boost your new year brand awareness/pockets.
How do you pitch to a journo?
It depends on your intended outcomes – what do you want from the media coverage? Brand awareness? Sales? Personnel profiling?
Who do you want to reach? What sector is your business from? What platforms are your target audience using?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll have an idea of what publication/s getting coverage from would be most worthwhile for your business.
Then starts the pitch.
If you can, identify specific journos. You can always send media kits to editors and newsrooms, but if there are specific journos you know are interested in your field, they are the best ones to pitch directly to.
Pitching can be done a number of ways, from collating media kits, to sending gift packages, to simple phone calls/emails.
It’s always best to follow up any electronic or posted material with a phone call to ensure the journo received the content. It also gives both of you the opportunity to discuss any queries and add a ‘face’ to the name.
Negotiating advertorial may be easier during this period as well, and a good way to enhance any PR coverage you’ve managed to garner.
If you can, always supply ready-to-use content to the media such as high-resolution images and video footage. Budgets and resources are now quite constrained in Australian publishing, so providing usable content is always exceptionally helpful to garnering that coverage.
Lastly, PR pitching is not a sales pitch.
If you go in like a salesperson you are not going to get the outcomes you desire. Journos need stories that are beneficial to their publication and of interest to their readers. You need to find and pitch the angle that provides that, not expect the journo to do the work for you.
If you need help with finding that angle, pitching the right way and securing that coverage, contact a professional public relations firm like Hugo Halliday.
We wish all our readers, clients and friends a very Merry Christmas. May 2019 bring your business much prosperity!