‘Newspapers B&W (4)‘ by Jon S, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0
This month we’re digging into some of the tips we learned at the first Global Food Tourism Conference, covering some of the press tips shared by Akila McConnell, Owner of Atlanta Food Walks and freelance travel/food writer.
If you were lucky enough to attend our first Global Food Tourism Conference back in October, you got a great presentation from Atlanta Food Walks owner Akila McConnell on some insider tips for working with the press. If you didn’t make it or need a refresher, today we’re going to touch on some of the basic, starter tips she shared with the group based on her experience as a writer (and food tour owner).
Don’t Just Wait, Pitch
It may look like magic when you see a company covered in the press, but the truth is it won’t happen unless you pitch your angle. Sometimes you can get lucky, but getting great press means doing the work to reach out to major publications, bloggers and local writers yourself.
Don’t Pitch Nonsense
When Akila spoke, she talked about how many uninteresting, irrelevant pitches and press releases she waded through on a daily basis. If you send generic pitches and don’t do your research you’ll end up in the trash bin. So how do you avoid that?
Target The Right Writer & Be Relevant
Make sure your news or story is revenant to the publication or writer. For example, you’re in the food tourism/travel industry, so unless your story has a tech spin don’t pitch to a tech writer. Look for bloggers and publications that would write about your business. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and invite a lifestyle blogger to cover your tour. Just do your research and tailor your pitch.
Be Newsworthy & Timely, Not Vague
You may love your food tour, but just existing as a business isn’t newsworthy. Ask yourself, “what is my company doing that’s important to a reader?” Maybe you’re partnering with a local charity, or helping promote a new restaurant. The important thing is to include an angle of interest to the writer’s audience.
Be Concise, Be Specific
In short, don’t make the writer work for the story. Writers love to pick up stories that are a breeze to pull together. Make the key information easy to find and include quotes that can be lifted straight from your press release. Apply this thought to your headline as well; all the important info should be immediately understood.
Writers don’t want to hear about how great you are (even though you may be the best). Keep things sounding like a news article, and not like a marketing piece talking up your company.
Akila’s Key Tips For How to Write a Great Pitch
We loved Akila’s quick and simple breakdown in her presentation, so here it is below! This is the perfect guide to use every time you’re planning on reaching out to the press…
- Step 1: Target the right writer and media outlet
- Step 2: Make sure you have a newsworthy, interesting pitch (and a great product).
- Step 3: Write a fantastic Press Release
- Be concise. Around 400 words or 1 page max.
- Should read like a news article. Not too boastful.
- Have an engaging and interesting headline and first sentence. Generally, be newsworthy and well-written.
- Have at least one quote.
- Have excellent grammar and spelling.
- Step 4: Reach out to writers and media outlets with short e-mail, press release, and invitation (if applicable).
- Step 5: After the article/press comes out, THANK the writer and share the love. Love them and they will love you!
Whether you’re all ready pitching or planning to reach out to the press, these basic tips will help you improve your current technique or reach out for the first time. Special thanks to Akila and the awesome knowledge she shared with us. If you have your own tips and tricks, share them in the comments!