Stop the Zombie Pitching: 8 Tips to Improve Your Media Relations

Imagine a hoard of impersonal, thoughtless emails overpowering your inbox and eating into your productivity. That’s what zombie pitching can feel like to a reporter.

Impersonal e-blasts are ineffective pitching tools, Shonali Burke, president and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting Inc., explained at the 2015 FPRA Annual Conference. Burke gave the following tips to bring your pitches back to life:

1. Take the time to address the person you’re targeting properly. No one likes a “Dear ________,” email.

2. Research your target to ensure you have selected influencers or members of the media who are right for your client’s goals.

3. Start listening. There are seemingly endless ways to listen to conversations already happening: Create lists with geographical or topic targeting; research and follow hashtags; set up alerts. Once you have started listening, you can connect with reporters, writers and other targets via social media.

4. Clearly state value for your target and/or their audience. Explain why your story/product matters for this audience.

5. Offer information they don’t already have.

6. Include a specific call to action. Most people are reviewing information and news on a smart phone. Without a specific call to action, they are unlikely to take action.

7. Be timely – waiting for days to reply or respond can cost you.

8. Be human. Remember you are a human connecting with other humans. Listen, engage, share and help.

Editor’s note: This is a summary of a post written by Amanda Handley for the FPRA Annual Conference blog team. Read the full post here.