Wolf Craft - Your PR questions answered - edition #6

Welcome to the sixth edition of PR Questions with Nora.

This new monthly newsletter feature was inspired by you! If you've attended one of our recent PR workshops, you likely noticed there were A LOT of great questions during the Q&A's. We've collated all the questions and once a month we'll send you two in-depth answers to your most common PR questions. 


Read past editions here.

Q: What is the best practice for finding and reaching out to the right people at publications?

A: Definitely looking at your peers and where they're getting press. One simple way is to just use Google alerts.

We didn't just track our clients, we tracked our clients' next five or six competitors to see where they were getting press.
 
You said you're in ceramics, so I would definitely look at your peers in that space or maybe people who are two or three years ahead of where you are in your career. Put them into Google alerts and every time it comes up see who's writing about them and make a note to add to your editor list.

Oh editor X from publication Y wrote about my peer. Now I have someone new I can reach out to.

Finding email addresses is a Google adventure. Usually if you're reaching out to an established publication it'll be something along the lines of first name dot last name at publication, etc. Whatever it is, you can usually figure it out through some sleuthing. Or you can DM an editor and say ``I'd like to send you a pitch, what's the best way to do that?” But generally I advise against actually pitching stories on social media platforms unless they specifically say you can.

Overall, you need to really pay attention to publications in your industry. You need to actually read them. For example, we have so many people who are like "I want to be in the New York Times". But NYT doesn't really write about design anymore, they do it a few times a year so it's almost always a totally off base request.

Try to really understand what those publications are, not just an idea in your head. Actively reading them makes you a better designer AND it gives you an idea of who and what to pitch.

Q: It is very hard to get crickets after spending a lot of time on a pitch. At what point do you just not pitch that person anymore?

A: It's super common to get no response. Someone asked how to get at least a 50% return rate on emails? My response, we don't even have a 20% return rate, and I do this every day. Not getting a response is very common.

There are a couple of things you can do, though, to improve that return rate.

First of all, following up is one of my favorite things to insist upon. We do two follow ups after an initial cold pitch. We'll do a first follow up about a week later. Something like, "Did you know this other thing- if we have something else to share a new image or a new piece of information- and are you interested? Or does this fit with any stories you're working on?"
 
On our final follow up we just say, "Hey, I just wanted to check in one more time. If you're not interested, that's totally fine and I won't follow up anymore." This tells them you respect their time.

A bit more background- Wolf Craft was founded by myself and my business partner, Kirsten. We met in undergrad and both have Art and Design backgrounds. So when we started Wolf Craft we pulled in some of our design education; that is we use design thinking methodology for all our PR work. It's kind of like the scientific method for designers. There's a lot on the Internet, you can Google, but one of the main pillars is empathy. 

What is the reason that this person--the editor you're pitching--has a job? What are they trying to do? What their job isn't, is to help you out. So, if your email says "it would really be great for my business if you wrote about me in this feature", you're already off to the wrong start. If you can help them do their job, you'll be in a much better position to get coverage. 

We also like to focus on the How and the Why, for example:
 "Hi, I noticed you write about this topic and I fit into this topic *how* and I think your readers would be interested *why* and I want to help you provide interesting content to your readers."

Now you're starting to empathize with their point of view and you're giving them something helpful. 

The last thing I would say is to truly vet your contacts.  Make sure they really are writing about the things that you want to pitch. Because just emailing a bunch of people doesn't usually work. 

So click on their name while you're reading articles, see what their last 15 pieces the wrote were like. Look at the headlines and the articles to make sure that your pitch actually fits their point of view.
A few useful tools to help you get started:
Thanks for giving us some time in your inbox! If you have any PR questions be sure to send them our way. We'll always respond and you may even see the answer in our newsletter!

Cheers,
Nora & Kirsten

PS - If you liked the newsletter, we’d be so happy if you shared it with others who might find it useful. Anyone new can subscribe here.

 
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