When trying to promote your business, build brand recognition, or enhance your SEO rankings, implementing various public relations efforts are generally a good place to start. One of the more effective, and often overlooked, methods of pitching reporters in the interest of gaining a link to your website or a brand mention is by offering a content rewrite or a content contribution piece. This simple concept of rewriting a reporter's article can be significant if approached correctly.
Finding the Right Opportunity
The place to begin with this type of media outreach is to find the right opportunity-the right publication, the right contact, and the right article. Think about what the end result for your brand is, whether it be getting a link in a high ranking news story or receiving a mention in a piece that highlights a competitor. Regardless of the overarching reason, you should use this as the primary driver for which piece of content you want to offer a rewrite for.
Some ideas for finding these relevant opportunities can start with any of the following:
- Search for keywords important to your brand and find articles that rank well for that specific keyword.
- Look for industry influencers on social platforms to learn more about what outlets they contribute to.
- Read through articles written by reporters you have networked with in the past.
- Research where your competition is mentioned since these outlets cover news that is similar to yours.
- Use media databases like Cision or MeltWater to identify contacts at trade publications.
As you start to examine different opportunities that may be a match for your business and begin to build out your list of contacts, make sure that you're identifying content that would benefit your brand and the media outlet if it were to be rewritten. Perhaps their article is outdated and you can offer them updated insights, or their article contains old links that are no longer working or relevant and your website could replace one. There needs to be a mutually beneficial reason to update the article-if it's just for self-promotion, the outlet won't be interested, and your message to the reporter will likely end up in their trash.
The Content of Your Pitch
Once you've identified the opportunity you want to proceed with, it's time to start crafting the perfect pitch letter, and the way you present the pitch is crucial to how successful it will be. The language you use should always be professional and discreetly show your expertise. If you haven't worked with the reporter before, taking one line to briefly introduce yourself and tell a little about your business can really go a long way. Take the time to be coherent, concise, and ultimately professional.
Before you hit "send," there should be a substantial amount of research done, and you want to make this clear (without saying such) in your pitch. Pointing out how much you enjoyed their article last month with reasoning that substantiates your understanding and shows the reporter that you aren't wasting their time with pitches completely off beat.
Building a Case
Ultimately your pitch letter should build a case for why the rewrite that you are offering to contribute is a valid suggestion. You need to be able to provide reasoning on how this could enhance their article or site, and how it will benefit readers to have a new version of it available.
"Maybe statistics are not up-to-date, or the best practices mentioned are no longer the best practices," says Jessica Camp, PR Associate at Blue Fountain Media. "Making this clear, without insulting the writer, will substantiate your reasoning for a rewrite."
Once you have suggested your rewrite offer, you want to briefly go into detail on what you would update, and who it would be coming from. You want to identify experts at your company that could speak to this topic, and not only state their position in your email, but really dive into their experience and what makes them so knowledgeable in that topic. Explain their specialty areas, or the aspects of your business that they are really passionate about that overlap with the content being discussed. Often a bulleted list of the topics you would change, with a one-sentence summary below each, is enough for the reporter to see if it's something they would like to consider. You don't want to overload them with too much information and unnecessary detail, or you may lose their attention.
If you've sent your pitch, followed up with the reporter, and it doesn't seem like a content rewrite is in the cards, in some circumstances it's okay to offer other options. Ms. Camp typically follows up a few days after her initial outreach before ruling out the opportunity:
"You don't want to bombard a reporter with multiple e-mails - they're even less likely to work with you if you're spamming them. I tend to wait two to three days for follow up, depending on the initiative and whether or not the pitch is something breaking versus a piece that is more evergreen."
If the reporter has gotten back to you and has politely declined the rewrite, offering a substantial quote to make the story more accurate can be a happy medium. Even if it's not for the article you initially were pitching, if there was a different story that went up a few weeks ago and is related to some sort of current event, or something someone at your company is an expert on, you can offer a commentary.
Building relationships with reporters is one of the best ways to build brand recognition and start increasing your media placements, so even if your initial pitches aren't very successful, you should at least be trying to network with this particular contact. Checking back in a few months to ask if they are working on any articles that they could use some expert insights for doesn't seem as arbitrary and uncalled for if the reporter already knows your name when it shows up in their email.