By Shirley Leung, Brand Marketing Specialist at Business Wire
Pitching can be difficult. The landscape of the media industry has become fragmented forcing public relations tactics to evolve as new platforms and outlets emerge such as influencer marketing. Consumers are naturally suspicious when it comes to buying a product, so this is where an influencer, an individual who has the ability to drive a message to a large market much like a brand advocate, would come into play.
As brand campaigns and initiatives shift from traditional marketing strategies to social media, consumers are more invested than ever in what influencer personalities have to say about a specific product or brand. Influencers write about products and brands that they personally vouch for, based on personal taste. Not only does this create social buzz but it ultimately increases sales for the brand. According to a recent study by Twitter and Annalect, about “40 percent of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”
Similar to a celebrity endorsement, public relations firms and agencies see influencers as a segment of “new journalism.” To compare, they are both considered trusted resources of information, produce quality content and most importantly can captivate a large audience.
As consumers flock towards the organic vibes of social media, influencer marketing has become the new PR gold mine. Just like journalists, influencers are busier and harder to reach than ever… but have no fear!! Just follow these tips and you will be on the road to virality.
Do not send everything through the cookie cutter.
Mass anything is your enemy! Always keep it personalized by making sure your pitch is framed and tailored to the tastes of the influencer you are reaching out to. It may take more time and effort but it is far more effective in garnering a response.
In addition, offering exclusivity is always enticing. It allows the influencer you're targeting to be the first to give their opinion on your product or brand making them the go to source for interested audiences.
Go above and beyond.
You have the plain text of your release that you're showing influencers, but now what? Be sure to take advantage of multimedia to increase visibility and peak interest. This can be done a variety of ways: creating a high resolution image with creative copy, a colorful infographic, a supporting video clip or live link to name a few. By adding these media components along with text, it increases share-ability and it gives you the option to tell your story in various ways. It gives the influencer you're reaching more resources to use when sharing with their audience.
Learn more about multimedia solutions read here.
Press releases are one of the top ways to reach the media. Over 75% of reporters use newswires to search for news and trends on a daily basis (Business Wire 2015 Media Survey). When cold pitching goes wrong, a press release distribution service such as Business Wire can instantly increase the coverage your story receives. It gives legitimacy to the news and helps present more content when reaching out to influencers. With interactive options such as the Smart News Release or Picture Capsule, your story is transformed into an engaging entity that attracts and helps convert the audiences you target.
Build networks, not just contacts.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when contacting influencers is that they receive hundreds of pitches week after week so try to not make your approach invasive when first approaching them. Ask them out for a coffee, lunch or if they will be at any industry conferences or events. This gives you the chance to get to know how they like to be reached, their schedule, deadlines and any other information that will help you get a response from them in the future.
Find the right community.
The same strategies that you would use to determine which publications, outlets or journalists you want to pitch to are also pertinent when trying to find the right influencer for your brand. Craft and stylize your pitch in a way as if you are speaking as the influencer him or herself. Get a feel for their personal style by checking out what kind of content they post, how they write, and by what kind of audience they have. Pitching an influencer, however, is different than pitching a member of traditional media.
Influencers cover topics based on their personal tastes. They need a better reason than your mutual interests in fashion or cars, or whatever industry you're in, to take your pitch. Solely relying on topics and communities that align with your business are just not enough. Tailor a pitch that will connect with them both aesthetically and emotionally. Giving them something they will feel comfortable vouching for to their readers.
You want influencers to fall in love with your pitch. Be engaging and always ask questions first before sending your pitch. This makes for a warm introduction and they are more likely to do you a favor once they get to know you. It can also result in building great connections with them which will make it even easier for you to pitch next time!
For even more ways to enhance your pitch, check out our recent “Secrets of the Media” event recap.
To learn more about how you can reach your target audience and amplify coverage, check out our PR solutions.