Like Puppy Cake, seek out the opportunities within your hometown and industry first. It makes no sense to pitch national media if your product does not have wide distribution. Look beyond your industry as long as there is still a tie-in and don’t forget about non-print media like radio, television and online. Also, use your personal connections with organizations you are involved with. As an alum to a university, fraternity/sorority, service organization, make the pitch to be included in their national publications that are sent out to alumni and members. After all, they want to tell success stories about their members, past or present.
Timing is everything! Magazines are writing content six months in advance, so keep that in mind if you have seasonal items. Slawsa is great on hot dogs (which we affectionately refer to as “Slawsa Dogs”) so there are great opportunities for us to get media during the month of July, national hotdog month. Make sure you are always planning ahead as it is better to pitch too soon and need to follow-up versus waiting until its too late.
Make pitching an on-going effort. Kelly from Puppy Cake referenced three magazine articles in the four years she had launched. Granted, I only saw the edited segment so perhaps she got in more or she didn’t feel her product was big enough to approach media in her first several years, but pitching media has to be an on-going effort. If readers aren’t moved to make a purchase immediately, they forget it. Repetition is key and I always set a goal of getting no less than eight media opportunities per month across multiple forms of media.
Respond with a comment to articles that are similar in nature. I read an online article about a Major League Baseball team that was going through a stadium renovation and the journalist wrote her thoughts as to which type of hotdog the stadium should adopt as their signature dog in the coming season. Since we have presence in concession venues as well, in the comment section below, I wrote a perfectly ‘imperfect’ response that peaked her interest. Within the next twenty hours, not only did she call me for an interview, but she posted a follow-up story pitching Slawsa as the future ballpark pooch, and as a result, I received a phone call from the executive office of the franchise who read her second article about us. I am currently in discussions with their concessionaire about my product. You never know who is reading and where things may lead.
I am a big believer that things happen because you make them happen. As much as I would love to think that my brands recently launched youtube video will go viral or I might get a phone call from a major talk show or a national morning program wanting to feature my brand, I can’t count on it. As entrepreneurs and small businesses, we have to keep our sleeves rolled up and make every day’s efforts count. Now, start pitching!