How to Build Media Contacts

Jennifer Wezensky knows a thing or two about getting publicity for your salon. She’s president of JW Public Relations, a Michigan-based boutique PR firm specializing in helping small businesses get positive media coverage. She sent us these tips for creating a strong list of media contacts so you can get the attention you deserve, and I’m happy to pass them along:


• When targeting different publications, sending out mass e-mail pitches and press releases is a no-no because it is considered “PR spamming.”  Each pitch sent out needs to be tailored to meet the audience of the publication.


• E-mail pitches and press releases should have subject lines relevant to the pitch because you want to make sure the e-mail gets opened. The pitch or press release is one of the most cost efficient ways to generating publicity when you have a targeted media list. Keep it short and concise. Don’t use flowery language unless absolutely necessary. Media professionals want news; not to read the greatest piece of literature since Tolstoy.


• Make sure press releases follow the correct format.


• Contact one reporter/journalist at a time. In your pitch, reference an article the journalist/reporter wrote. Recently, I was putting a publicity campaign for one of my new products. I sent out four pitches to four different publications and landed three feature story interviews.


• Make your media contact’s job easier by telling them how your company can help their audience or why your company is relevant to a certain trend. If the contact doesn’t use it right away, she may call on you in the future, when a certain trend becomes popular.


• Ask clients how your product or service has helped them. Ask for testimonials. Incorporate case studies and testimonials. This will make your release more believable and newsworthy.


• Never send a pitch or press release as an attachment, unless the journalist or reporter asks for it. Send all text in a plain text e-mail.


• Make sure you follow up in a timely manner.


• If possible, address the editor by his or her first and last name.


Remember, journalists find many of their stories from regular people and businesses, so it is your job to pitch them accordingly. Just don’t make your news self-serving.


— Judy



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