Forget About Press Releases. Opt For Pitches!

by : 

Megy Karydes

April 18, 2016
Marketing Mondays - Forget About Press Releases. Opt For Pitches!

Last year we discussed sending out press releases and tip sheets to reporters as a way to drum up media interest for your independent retail store. The advantage is you can send the same info to many reporters at the same time; the disadvantage is you send the same info to many reporters at the same time. So, how can you secure editorial coverage for your specialty shop? You learn the art of pitching a reporter or producer.

Give them exclusives

Reporters and broadcast producers like to provide their respective audiences with stories that are exclusive to them as much as possible. They want to be seen as the “go-to” resource for specific type of content. If the outlets cover interior design, they want to showcase the freshest interior design spaces. If they feature restaurant openings, they want to know about restaurants before they’re about to open.

In this competitive media landscape, the rush to be the first or the best is fierce, and you can take advantage of that need by providing the media with exclusive and fresh content to share with their audiences.

Tailor to their audiences

Remember, when you’re working with reporters, it isn’t about you (this is really hard for some people to understand, so it bears repeating). Reporters and producers are trying to provide a product (in this case, newsworthy content in the form of print, broadcast, or online) to their respective audiences, not to help you sell products or services. To the extent possible, your goal is to help them provide the best possible story to their audience. This is why focused pitches almost always do better than press releases and tip sheets. Why? Because the focused pitch is targeted to that particular media outlet and reporter or producer. That tells the reporter that you’ve taken the time to learn what they’re looking for in a story and can deliver it.

If a television show often shows restaurant chefs making a new dish every Wednesday during the mid-day news, why not pitch the producer a segment on the newest kitchen gadgets and/or home accessories? Or, if you’re good in the kitchen, channel your inner chef and offer to make a dish on the air from a new cookbook you are carrying? During the segment, use products from your shop, from the plates to the silverware. Get the idea?

Similarly, if your local newspaper has a column that features “someone you should know,” from the community, why not reach out to the columnist and ask if they’d consider you as a local shopkeeper and how you help contribute to the community through your work?

Hone and succeed!

The more you can hone your pitch to a specific reporter and outlet, the higher your chances of securing editorial coverage. The time you take to consider the outlet and its needs, and how you can help that outlet meet its needs, is not time wasted. And, you will be rewarded for your effort.

Megy Karydes helps small businesses harness their marketing power. She’s also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic’s CityLab, Midwest Living magazine and Chicago Tribune, among others. Find her at