Media relations can seem more daunting than trying to investigate every alert for cybersecurity companies who may have limited PR experience and/or internal resources to execute on strategic PR tactics. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact your chances of earning coverage, and can even hurt your reputation. To help you get your PR program off the ground without unwittingly damaging your credibility with the media, here are six common media outreach mistakes you should be sure to avoid and what to do instead:
Mistake 1: Using Non-Descript Subject Lines
When was the last time you opened a cold email with a boring subject line? Reporters are no different! It’s critical to have a compelling subject line as a means of standing out in reporters’ inboxes.
Focus on giving a 5-7 word preview of what they can expect to learn if they click on your message. A faux pas to avoid is including ALL CAPS, as you are likely to land in SPAM. Below is an analysis of two different subject line examples:
- Enterprises NEED API Security to Survive
- Beyond the frowned upon use of all caps within the subject line, it reads as a sales pitch, not a story.
- API Security, The Overlooked Business Continuity Strategy
- This subject line is better as it reads like the title of a possible story. API Security is at the front, ensuring it will be readable on mobile devices. The word ‘overlooked’ connotes that there is information about API Security that people don’t know enough about, thus it would be beneficial for the reporter to share that information with his/her readership.
Mistake 2: Writing a Pitch that is Too Long
While there is no “perfect” length for a media pitch, best practice is to keep it to 2-3 succinct paragraphs. You want to pack a newsworthy punch immediately and provide context about your thought leader without writing a novel. Once a reporter opens your email, you only have a few seconds to pique their interest.
Mistake 3: ‘Copy & Paste’ Errors
Unless you are explicitly offering a reporter an exclusive story, they know you’re reaching out to others with an identical message. Don’t make the rookie mistake of copy and pasting the wrong intro (i.e. “Hi John”) when you’ve moved on to the next reporter. This simple, but avoidable error reflects poorly on both you and your company. Instead, take an extra couple of minutes to proofread thoroughly.
Of course, accidents do happen. We’re all human after all. If you notice a copy/paste mistake, own it with a simple, apologetic message. But still, no “SORRY!” in all caps. Just say “no” to all caps.
Mistake 4: Sending a Pitch to Multiple Reporters at the Same Pub (At the Same Time)
Take the time to research which reporter most recently covered the topic you are pitching. Colleagues communicate. Chances are someone will point out to their peer they got the same message. A better strategy is to pitch the targeted reporter, give them a few business days to respond, and then move on to the next best fit.
Mistake 5: Sounding Robotic
Public relations is all about communication, storytelling and relationship building, so don’t be afraid to have some personality! Minding your manners with “pleases” and “thank yous” is a must, and as you build relationships with certain reporters, check in on them just to ask how they’re doing! You’re probably not a fan of people who only reach out to you when you need something. Reporters are people just like you!
Mistake 6: Waiting Too Long to Enlist a Cybersecurity PR Agency
All too often someone at a small- to mid-sized company is tasked with a hybrid marketing and PR role. They become torn and overwhelmed by competing priorities. Let your team focus on what they do best and outsource to a trusted PR agency before missed deadlines and unrealized opportunities pile up!
LaunchTech Communications specializes in cybersecurity PR for rapidly growing brands. Our team becomes an extension of yours, helping launch the company’s reach and reputation to new heights. Contact us to learn more.