Everyone involved in PR and promotion of companies knows what pitching materials to journalists and media outlets is and what “seeding” is. Experts understand the relevance of publications on their topic, do not violate the laws of business communication, and understand how to properly draw up letters for journalists.
But not everything is as rosy as it seems. So, in the comments to our article “How a press release will help spoil relations with journalists”, employees of many media outlets noted that not all PR people adhere to the culture of communication and the rules of business communication. Among other things, they fill up the editorial mail with huge texts instead of press releases, send off-topic content, invite the chief editor to write advertising articles about the company for money, and then endlessly make edits to such materials.
We at PRNEWS.IO know exactly how to do it right: in a year and a half, our team has published more than 230 articles in various publications. Therefore, we declare with confidence: the method of outreach and seeding content to journalists and editorial offices works.
How exactly it works and what you need to do to get your material posted in the relevant publication for free, read below.
How an outreach article and a press release differ
An article is exclusive material that an experienced PR person or press secretary never sends out in large quantities. It is sent to only one editorial office, and offered to another media outlet in the event that a refusal came from the first one.
They can refuse if the publication:
- does not publish third-party content;
- publishes only materials on a paid basis.
It is worth sending out the article consistently until the text is put in the publication plan. This usually takes seven to ten days. It so happens that some media outlets respond after your publication is posted on another resource or reserved by another media.
If the editors answered that the content does not correspond to the topic, you should not blacklist this media: suggest a topic that will interest the audience and prepare other unique material.
Important! An easy upgrade won’t do. Trying to get away with a simple rewrite can even harm your specialist reputation. And the lost trust in a professional environment is worth a lot.
Sowing material: step by step algorithm
First of all, it must be borne in mind that the material must correspond to the media topics and the quality of the content published by the site. Before submitting an article, read the sections of the media, its content and assess your chances for the relevance of the topic. Don’t forget to check your site traffic data and monthly average views (SimilarWeb to help).
The article should be timely, unique and provide practical and informative value. Do not write about what everyone already knows, even if this news feed is in trend and everyone is writing about it now. It is better to use a trend news lead if you can create a different material based on it, improve it with expert comments, facts and figures, beautiful infographics, photos or videos.
Tone of Voice: Intrigue or Clarify?
Both approaches have the right to life here: you can send ready-made material to journalists, or you can simply propose a topic (or several topics) and prepare an article only after approval.
Our team adheres to the first option and tries to do without intrigue. A journalist who sees a finished article can immediately assess its potential and relevance. As practice shows, this increases the chances of free placement.
Suggest the topic of the article if you have already published on this site and are sure that the editorial board will accept the text. They know you, and you know all their requirements for the subject matter, format and quality of the material.
How to draw up a letter to the editor
The first thing to do is to find the email of the editorial office. Usually it is listed on the website of the publication. If not, try sending a letter via social networks (it so happens that the editorial contact is indicated in the account profile).
The search for contacts and the beginning of communication with the media are useful already because this is how business relations develop, the pool of loyal publications increases, and at the same time material for publication is distributed.
Try not to make template letters. Ideally, each request should be targeted and should contain:
- a well-defined topic with the format of the material (news, guest post, review, interview) and the name of your company;
- brief information about the company and the type of activity (2-3 short sentences). There is no need to list your regalia, it is better to add links to already published successful materials in other publications;
- a short description of the article. In one or two sentences, try to convey to the editor the relevance of the text specifically for the audience of a particular media;
- emphasis on uniqueness: “The article has not been published anywhere before” or “The material is exclusive, prepared specifically for your media”;
- request for feedback, regardless of the positive or negative decision about the publication. “I would be grateful for an answer” or “I would be grateful for any answer” at the end of the letter.
When to send
It is best to send emails in the morning (8:30 am to 12:00 pm) on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
On Monday, editorial staff are unlikely to carefully read incoming mail, because they need to clean up their debris and sit at planning meetings. On Friday, all journalists’ attention is focused on deadlines and other tails that grow in a week. These days, your letter may simply be overlooked.
Expect feedback from the media for no more than a day. After that, feel free to write to the editor again in the same thread. If after 1-2 days there is no reaction, try to contact the editorial office via social networks. If there is no answer for a couple of days, confidently send the article to another media (you should have a list of sites relevant for publication in advance).
In response to a refusal to publish, you can offer an alternative material (if there is a ready or planned one). You can also suggest revising the article that was discussed earlier, and ask if it makes sense to send other materials from time to time. In any case, you shouldn’t lose contact. Of course, with observance of the rules of business communication and without importunity.
So, in my plan since last summer was cooperation with one of the top media in the field of marketing and communication in the digital environment. Twice I tried to place PRNEWS.IO material with them through outreach. But once the topic did not come up (we posted it on another industry resource), and the second time we were a little late with the topic.
But for the third time, the project was a 100% success! I sent the theme and draft to the editor for 90% of the finished material, received a positive response, made changes – and in two weeks we received the desired publication!
Most publications are interested in free publications, subject to the following rules:
• The materials should correspond to the topic of the media in cooperation with which you are interested. Agroportal is unlikely to be interested in talking about new perfumes. And if you also spam the editorial office with a mountain of letters, you can quickly and forever find yourself in the blacklist.
• Observe exclusivity. Similar material can be offered only if it contains new data, cases, interesting speakers.
• Follow the seeding algorithm:
- choose an online platform;
- offer a well-formed material;
- send it at the correct time;
- wait for feedback, remind yourself if necessary;
- send material to other media only in case of refusal or complete disregard;
- send mass media exclusively press releases.
• Don’t get discouraged after the first rejection. It can be the beginning of a wonderful friendship and productive collaboration!