» Introducing Education Expert Meghan Ely

We are pleased to introduce Meghan Ely, a new WeddingWire Education Expert!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Meghan will be contributing guest posts and sharing her public relations expertise monthly on our blog. Check out Meghan’s first post, The Art of the Media Pitch, below. Welcome, Meghan!

I’ve never been unhappier in a job than when I was forced to make a sales call quota each week in an effort to increase my already full calendar of events. I’m not sure if was my awkward phone skills (thanks a lot text messaging!) or simply the notion of calling people who didn’t ask to hear from me, but regardless, it was never the highlight of my week.

For years, I managed to sidestep the challenge but making regular calls to my event buddies and simply ending the conversation with a brief, but more importantly on record: “Oh, did you need to book any upcoming events with us? Nope? Ok!”

When I made the world of public relations my full time gig, I had to rethink the notion of making contact with people who may not be expecting my outreach. After all, media pitches are the cornerstone for making press happen.

The good news? I quickly realized that when I have a good story to tell, the media wants to know. The even better news? There is an art to media pitches. By putting just a few PR to do’s into practice, you’re far more likely to find success.

Below are a few tips and tricks that I like to keep in my back pocket every time I’m crafting a media pitch.

Plan, plan, plan: A generic media pitch sent out to your entire media list is of no use to anyone. You won’t receive any interest and before long, you run the risk of your contacts simply ignoring you. Instead, take time to research the appropriate media outlets— their point of contact, editorial calendar and the way in which they preferred to be pitched. Expect everyone to be different.

Pick an angle: Every media outlet is going to target a different audience and your pitch should be indicative of that. Decide how your story relates to their audience as well as how it complements their current features.  When I represented a local wedding event in which top area Wedding Pros toured a region, I quickly realized that the local newspaper would want a very different story than a blog focused on providing wedding related content to brides. By selecting a variety of angles in which to pitch, we were able to enjoy multiple features about the same event.

Keep it brief: Reporters are constantly on deadline and will have very little time to read through your pitch so get to your point and quickly. Very few people will take the time to read through a page and a half of anything.  Keep the inverted pyramid in mind while pitching: answer the who, what, when, where and why at the very beginning and only include the most relevant supporting details needed before you end.

Think like the media: The very best thing I did for my PR career was to work for a series of newspapers and later, continue on as a contributing writer to several media outlets. It’s in these scenarios, that I’ve been able to get a better glimpse into the mindset of the media.  As noted, reporters are always up against deadlines so they appreciate quick and to the point pitches.  They are inundated with pitches day in and day out so they’ll best appreciate those that are fresh, exclusive and relevant to their audience.

Be prepared for pick up: Most people think that a media pitch ends as soon as it is sent, but that’s not the case. Should a journalist decide your pitch is right for them, it’s imperative to be at the ready with any and all resources that will lend to the creation of the final article. Gather the contact information for any key player who may need to be interviewed. If applicable, have professional images on hand. And most importantly, anticipate what questions and requests you may get about your story in advance so you can be better prepared (and more impressive!).

Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a great feature, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to promote itAdd it to your press page. Blog about it. Make note of it on Facebook and Twitter. Inform anyone else involved in the story who may not know so that they too can go tell it on the mountain.  It’s great to send relevant, timely content to the media, but it’s even better when you can see it through and ensure that others know about it.

A well crafted media pitch is key to getting noticed by the media, and will better you with building value for your services as well as brand awareness. If taking the time to reach out to the media, be sure to keep in mind the above while putting the finishing touches on your pitch.