Making the Play: Contacting the Media
Are you’re a DIY-er who needs a little direction on how to reach the media on your own? Well this is for you.
When reaching out to media in your community there is some standard ways to communicate the information you are promoting to that the media are accustomed to receiving.
- Press release
- Media advisory
- Pitch letter
Here is a brief overview on how and when to use each.
The most common form of media communication is a press release (or news release). Press releases are used to make announcements about “news-worthy” topics such as the launch of a new book or radio show, office expansion, public event and similar. Additionally, for expert resources, it’s also an appropriate method for sharing your position on a current news story. An example news story topic an advisor could use to position his or her expertise is one about rising interest rates and the impact on savings and investments for residents in the community. Often times sample questions and answers could accompany a release like this to show the media the potential of the story and the many angles. Always start with a catchy headline, and use a quote or two in the release to give first person insight. A quick Google search will land you a variety of templates that you can use to get started.
For a financial services professional, media advisories are most often used for event promotion such as a book signing, workshop with a featured speaker, or other event for the community. They are designed to give specific, straightforward information on the “Who, What, When, Where, and Why” of an event, as well as to invite the media to attend and/or promote the event in their publication, on their news program or website.. Try to keep information to a single page if possible.
A pitch letter can be part of a media kit, accompany a press release or media advisory, or sent as a stand-alone correspondence to media contacts with whom you’ve already formed a relationship. It can be formatted like a traditional business letter or sent in the form of an email. It’s used to pique the interest of the media contact about a particular topic and encourage him or her to learn more by working closely with you. If it’s breaking news, using a pitch letter sent via email can be an effective tool to let the media contact know that you can be used as a source on the topic. Include talking points so they can recognize the valuable insight you can bring on the subject.
With all of these forms of communication, please remember to include your contact information – name, office and cell phone and email. Clearly articulate the call to action you are promoting: whether it be to use you as a resource, attend a private event or write a piece about your newest book – always be clear in the intent of your media outreach.
Best of luck!