Samantha Martin is the founder and ceo of Media Maison, a New York City full-service public relations firm. As a third-generation toy industry specialist who works one-on-one with Hong Kong’s top toy manufacturers, she has a deep grasp of the ever-changing toy business, and is uniquely qualified to provide her clients with the benefit of her industry knowledge, expertise, and far-reaching personal connections both in media and the toy industry. Sam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a smaller toy and game company in need of a little PR Therapy?
In case you missed it at Toy Fair, Media Maison hosted the seminar “PR Therapy,” a no-nonsense insider look into the world of PR featuring guest speakers Sara Haines, TODAY Show Correspondent (and Media Maison client) as well as the founder of FUBU and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank Daymond John. Emailing editors, sending samples to Mommy Bloggers, and finding time to tweet. Building your brand is exhausting.
Take some tips from the PR pros.
TODAY Show Correspondent Sara Haines’ Pitching Pet Peeves:
- Do your homework – watch the show!
- Cater your pitch. Does your product or story fit their beat? If not, it’s a no-go.
- Outline the product or service into an actual segment. If you just send a product pitch, it probably won’t go far. If you craft it into a segment, it will have a better shot.
- Be personal. Referencing past segments and stories is a good way to show that you have done your homework.
- Don’t overpitch – especially if you don’t have a relationship with the recipient. Overpitching is a good way to be forever destined for the junk folder. Pitching 10 ideas in one email is not going to get you far.
- Don’t send unsolicited samples.
Daymond John’s Shark Success Tips:
- S: Special – PR teams tell people how special you are.
- H: Homework – Know who to pitch. Know how to pitch them.
- A: Affiliation – Gain trust.
- R: Relevant – How relevant are you?
- K: Keep – Keep reinventing yourself.
How To Pitch Like A Publicist by Media Maison:
The first step to managing your company’s media relations is managing your own goals. Select your target outlets and be realistic. If you have yet to receive press, then TODAY Show, O Magazine and The Ellen Show should not be the only outlets on your targeted list. Start small – local press should be first on your list, you never know who’s reading your city’s paper. The Ellen Show isn’t a starting point; it’s a long-term goal.
- Personalizing your pitch. If you want the editor to care about your company, then you need to care about the editor. This means avoiding mail merge and BCC. Emailing editor’s blindly won’t get you very far. Has the editor covered a topic like yours in the past? If not, then they aren’t a good focus for your pitch. Journalists hate irrelevant pitches – you need to figure out who is the best fit for your pitch. There’s an editorial staff for a reason — New York Magazine’s Fashion Editor should not be pitched a restaurant opening. Do your research and personalize your pitch and let the editor know why you picked them to pitch. It will go a long way and show the editor that you’re in the know. If you’re focusing on broadcast, don’t pitch any producer at the station. Watch the show! Call the station and find out who the correct producer is for what hour of TV best fits your pitch. Do you homework — the time you take to pitch will pay off.
- Press release perfection. Make sure it’s been edited. If you had to guess, how many press releases do you think are sent out each day that are actually well written and useful? It’s probably less than 10%. Don’t believe me? Just go read any online newswire. Press releases with broken links and inaccurate contact information are a big no. The point of a press release is to alert the journalist — it’s not their job to track you down. Also, a press release is not an advertisement, it is a media alert.
- Making the connection. You did your homework, personalized your pitch, sent a great press release and you got a response! Now what? The work isn’t over. One thing I must stress is that you must be indispensible and accessible. Journalists are on a deadline and disregarding their deadlines is a great way to get on their bad side. Respond to journalists efficiently and accurately. If you receive a sample request, send it immediately. Everything a journalist would ask you for should be ready to go before the journalist bites, they will not wait around.
- Be a “Giver” and not just a “Taker.” Show a journalist that you can be a resource. Maybe your product is not exactly what they want, but you know a company that is. Help out the reporter and they will remember you next time.
- Buzzworthy Mommy Bloggers. Before you send samples to a Mommy Blogger make sure the blog is buzzworthy. Is the blog creating conversation? Comments on posts and shares on Twitter and Facebook show that the blog has a loyal community of readers. Of course, not all well-read blogs are the right fit for your brand. Ask yourself: Would I read this blog? If the answer is no, then your target audience probably wouldn’t read it either (and if the blog reads like a press release, no one is reading it). While some Mommy Bloggers do have the influence to build your brand, others may be getting the best of you. It’s a red flag if the Mommy Blogger charges for features, only posts giveaways or coupons, uses automated messages, and doesn’t post daily. A great blog is transparent and relevant, so if you can’t find the pulse behind the blog’s posts, then move on.