Pitching to the media is a great way to gain more exposure for yourself, build your thought leadership, and generate more business. When people see that you’re covered by another publication, they think you must have something special going on.
The truth is, getting media coverage can be achieved by any person or organization who’s got something to say. There’s no big secret society here or special right of passage you have to walk through in order to get press. So while it might feel like you’re playing the role of Chandler in the 80’s film “The Golden Child”, getting press is much easier than passing an obstacle course in a bottomless cavern whilst carrying a glass of water without spilling a drop.
So why don’t more people try pitching to the media?
Not knowing where to start, sprinkled with a fear of rejection, stops most people before they begin.
And that’s why getting 100 no’s is the key (more on this in a second).
But first, why is pitching even important?
When I coach thought leaders on getting more visibility, one of the first places we turn to is press. In the olden days (by old I mean early 1990’s), pitching felt much different. Editorial teams were large and still worked for massive media conglomerates. These days, the word “media” can be used to describe a dude three cities over that runs a blog with 100,000 readers that are ideal for you. Or a gal that publishes a podcast with an audience that’s totally into your area of expertise.
The media still has larger lists and audiences than you do. But here’s the thing: much of the media is run by normal people like you and me.
By targeting this new kind of media, the fear of rejection can be truly minimized. No longer does it feel like you’re sending out a pitch into the wind like the penpal letters of yore. These days it feels more like a “hey, what’s up?” email to a new friend you met online. You’re telling them about you and hoping they wanna chat more. It’s casual and conversational and not at all scary.
Okay, okay. So what the heck is up with getting 100 no’s?
When you pitch to the media, your goal should be getting 100 no’s or rejections. Yes, that literally should be your goal.
I have a running tab of rejections, and every single time I get a rejection or a non-reply after three attempts, I mark down that I got one of those puppies. Here’s the deal: if I manage to collect 100 no’s, I’m sure to collect a bunch of yes’s along the way. The reason for the goal of 100 no’s is simple: it’s what keeps me going.
What you’ll find out, just like I did, is that getting rejections is kinda hard in this new media landscape. If your pitch is interesting, you’ll get replies and people that want to interview you. If you’re like me and you like achieving your goals, it’ll make you put some more challenging media opportunities on your list. Because those are sure rejections, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
Sometimes it’s cool to keep accepting rejections from the same media outlet. Especially if you really want them to one day say, “yes”.
Everyone should be a little bit more like Tyann. Here’s why: she doesn’t give up.
Tyann is in the vacation rental industry and really wanted to get published by Conde Nast. She kept collecting the no’s until one day they said yes. I found out when she tagged me in her post announcing her success on Instagram. And of course, I got giddy along with her. Here’s her post:
Where to start: make your media list and make it good.
I’ll be posting on here with some sample pitches in the future. But you’ve got some work to do before you’re ready to start pitching. Take some time to come up with a list of places you’d like to send your pitch to, such as organizations, trade publications, bloggers in your field, and podcasts.
Here are a few ideas for researching media outlets:
- Google “top blog for <insert your trade, field, or industry>”
- Research keywords to find good podcasts for you by using sites like https://www.listennotes.com/
- Look at associations for your field and industry and see if they have a blog or newsletter you could contribute to
- Search for hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn to see who is talking about your area of expertise
- Look up other thought leaders’ profiles to see who covered them recently — chances are those places might be good for your media list, too
- Think of partners or vendors with similar audiences to your target audience who might have a blog, podcast or newsletter you could be featured on
Now, get ready to collect a pile of no’s. There will surely be a handful of yes’s sprinkled in.