Pitch It: How To Ride The Media Wave
To Free Traffic And Publicity
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Thanks for downloading this report. If you follow the steps laid out, you’ll have the ability to
generate press coverage, and more importantly, targeted traffic, at will. The strategies
outlined in this report have resulted in media coverage for everything from tech startups to
mobile apps to fundraisers for art galleries, to crowdfunding projects and they can work for
I’m not a fan of long introductions where the author tells you their life story, so let’s just jump
right in and get started.
A Quick Overview
Let’s take a quick look at what we’ll cover in these pages:
the right media outlets
the “hook” for your story
your media contact list
a press kit
to write press emails that get results
Choosing The Right Media Outlets
The first step to getting media coverage for your business is choosing the right media outlets.
Not every newspaper, major blog or TV station is a good fit to cover your business or product.
But if you do the work of selecting the right media outlets, the chances of you getting
coverage go up dramatically.
So how do you choose the right media outlets?
There are actually two aspects to this. You want to choose the right outlet in terms of the topic
they write about, and in terms of their position in the media hierarchy.
What this means is that you want to target media outlets that write about a topic that’s closely
related to your product or business, and initially, you want to target outlets that are lower on
the tier in terms of popularity, and will usually be more likely to write about you (Don’t worry,
though, you’re going to use these lower tier outlets to help you get published on larger and
larger media outlets like major blogs and news sites. I’ll show you how later in the report.)
Example: If your business is a marketing company that helps small businesses get more
customers, you obviously want to target media outlets that write about business and
marketing topics, or target local news outlets. Targeting websites that write about golf or
fitness won’t make sense because they probably aren’t going to be likely interested in writing
about your small business marketing company.
Likewise, The Today Show probably isn’t going to be interested in covering a small local
business at the outset because they’re a major national outlet with a national audience, so
you’d be more likely to get a response from reporters who write about issues in your local
So how do you find the media outlets that would be most interested in writing about you?
It’s easy. We’ll just use a handy little tool called Alltop.
Alltop is a blog aggregator that lists all the top blogs online (hence the name).
I’m going to show you how to use it in combination with another free tool to compile a list of
blog and media outlets to write about your company or product.
That other free tool is the Scraper Extension for Google Chrome.
You can download Google Chrome here if you don’t already have it on your computer. You
can just follow the installation instructions on the Chrome website to install it on your
Once you have Google Chrome downloaded and installed on your computer, launch Chrome,
and click here to install the Scraper extension.
Once the scraper extension is installed, go to Alltop.com. In the search bar in towards the
upper right side of the Alltop home page, type in a term for the niche you want to target (think
broad terms, like “business” or “health”). For example purposes, let’s do a search for the term
Below, you’ll see a snapshot of what Alltop’s business section currently looks like:
The business section includes blogs from a variety of different websites, including Inc.com,
Business.com, Hostgator.com and others (you may also see a few blogs that aren’t business
blogs. That’s ok, just ignore them).
The next step is to rightclick
on one of the blog section headers, as seen in the screenshot
on the orange header text and you’ll see a menu box like in the screenshot above)
Select “scrape similar” from the menu.
This will open the scraper tool, which will scrape the list of sites into a list. Next, you want to
export the list into a format that’s easier to work with. So click the “Export to Google Docs”
button near the bottom right of the scraper window.
Great! Now you have a Google Docs spreadsheet with a list of blogs that already reach your
target audience. But we’re still not done yet.
Next we want to scrape Google News for relevant news sites. In order to do this, we’ll have to
go through a very complicated process and spend a bunch of money to hire a web developer
who knows how to pull data from the Google News API.
Just kidding! 🙂
We won’t have to do that at all, because someone else already has.
We’ll just use this tool from Customer Developer Labs. Enter the search term you want, and it
uses Google News to look for news stories worldwide and in the 10 largest US cities. For
example, I’ll do a search for SEO:
Notice that the search returns 648 articles with the term “SEO”, with the top ones being from
sites like Forbes and The Huffington Post. The tool also lets you export the tools to a CSV
document, and if you want to spend a few bucks you can even upload the CSV document to
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program and have outsourced staff go through the CSV and find
the emails of each reporter or writer so you can contact them. Of course, you can also go
through the list and get the emails yourself if you don’t want to spend any money. It’s your
So now, you’ve got a list of hundreds of potential blogs and media sites you can reach out to
who might be interested in writing about your business.
But before you reach out them, you need to make sure you’ve given them a reason to want to
write about you, and that’s what we’ll be covering next.
Choosing Your Angle or “Hook”
If you want the news media to write about you, you have to give them what they want:
something that’s going to make them look good to their audience. This means you can’t just
send a blogger or reporter a blatant sales pitch for your product or business and expect them
to cover you. Make it about them instead, by creating an interesting story around your product
or business that would appeal to your media contact’s audience. This is your angle, story idea
or “hook”, and it’s how you get media coverage.
According to Public Relations expert Ben Kaplan, there are four main types of news angles
you can use to create great hooks that will get reporters and bloggers interested:
Let’s look at an example of each one.
is a major news story that’s just happened or is ongoing, such as a weather
event, an announcement by the President, or a celebrity awards show like the Oscars or MTV
Awards. You can piggyback on breaking news by tying a story about your business to the
For example, as I write this, a major story in the news is that Sony Pictures was recently
hacked and had many confidential emails stolen and distributed online, exposing private
communications between movie executives, directors and other major players in Hollywood.
How could you piggyback on this story if you specialize in offering marketing consulting to
small businesses? Well, small businesses can be vulnerable to hackers stealing information
just like Hollywood studios can. Your hook could be a short list of ways that small businesses
can protect themselves from getting hacked like Sony did, and you could pitch it to blogs and
news outlets that reach small business owners as well as to local media. Of course, you can
mention that you help small businesses with their online marketing and other issues like
keeping their website secure.
The key with creating a hook and story to pitch to the media is that you pitch them on the idea
of the story, not your business. In the example above, the story you’re pitching is about how
small businesses can protect themselves from hackers, but you just happen to specialize in
helping small businesses secure their sites to keep their data safe.
One other thing to note: If you choose to use a breaking news story as your hook, be sure to
do so in a way that’s tasteful. You don’t want to tie your story to a breaking news story about
something tragic that happened in a way that makes it look like you’re being exploitative or
trying to profit off the tragedy of others.
news covers topics like holidays, summer vacations and other topics
that tend to get covered at certain times of the year. Again, let’s use our small business
marketing company example. If Christmas is coming up, you could create a seasonal hook for
a story involving a small business marketing company could be pitching an article about how
small businesses can use Facebook or Twitter to attract more Christmas shoppers.
news covers trends that are new or unusual. These could either be general
trends or trends specific to your industry. A trend that’s popular right now is the growth of
mobile apps, and keeping with the same example of marketing consulting for small
businesses, you could create a story hook around showing how small businesses can benefit
from using mobile apps in their business, and of course, your business just so happens to be
able to help them with that.
Personal Interest People
love reading stories about other people, especially their struggles
or things they had to overcome, and journalists know this. By framing the story of your
business or product as a personal story that other business owners can relate to, you
increase the odds that journalists will want to write about you.
Sticking with our same example of consulting small businesses, a hook using the personal
interest approach could be “10 Things Being A College Dropout Taught Me About Business”,
and the story idea you pitch would focus on your experiences after you dropped out of college
and tried to start a business, including your successes and challenges. Of course, you’ll also
mention that you use the things you’ve learned along the way in order help other small
businesses become more successful.
Obviously the specific hook you use will depend on the type of business or product you have,
and I can’t cover all possible hooks you could use, but these are four hooks that are proven to
work, and it’s easy to create a short story idea that integrates your business or product into
the story as well.
You want to take the hook you create and write a brief pitch for a news story based around
that hook. This pitch is what you’re going to send to the bloggers and journalists you reach out
to. I’ll talk more about this later in the report, and if you’re not familiar with writing content like
pitches, blog posts, and articles, I’ve provided a list of resources in the “Additional Resources”
section at the end of this report that show you how to do it. Don’t worry, you won’t be writing
Shakespeare, just a brief outline of a story idea based on the hook you come up with.
Once you have your hook, it’s time to put together a press kit so that journalists or bloggers
will be able to quickly get all the relevant information about your company or product.
Your Press Kit
The purpose of having a press kit is to make it easy for the media to find out the basic details
of your product or business all in one place, which makes it easier for them to write about you.
Putting together a press kit can be done in just a couple of hours.
The press kit should include the following:
of founders or team.
brief overview of you or your company.
screenshots, photos or videos of your product.
previous mentions in the press, or blogs that have written about you.
It’s not essential that you have each one of the above items, but the more you can provide
reporters/bloggers with, the better.
Writing The Email
So now that you’ve got a list of potential media contacts to reach out to, and you’ve got your
hook and your press kit ready, the next step is actually creating your email to send out to
them. This step is extremely important, and I’ll include some sample email text to give you an
idea of how your emails should be structured.
I’m Joe Smith from Digital Biz. I’m a consultant who helps small businesses get more
customers and I have an idea for an article that I think your readers would benefit from. With
Christmas coming up, a lot of small local businesses are having to compete with large
retailers like Amazon. My article would be about 5 ways small businesses can beat Amazon
this Christmas by using Facebook to target shoppers in their local area and get them to come
in and buy. I’d love to send you a brief draft of the article for you to take a look at if you’re
interested. Let me know.
P.S. I have a press kit available here if you’d like to know more about me: [link to your press
The key to getting bloggers and reporters to respond to your emails is to keep your email very
brief. Just a quick intro, a bit about your story hook, and ask them if they’d like you to send
more information. You just want to pique their interest enough so they reply: “Sure. Send over
what you have.”
How To Send Your Emails
So now you’ve got your list of publications to target, your story hook, your press kit and your
email text. The last step is to actually send your emails out to those publications. Fortunately
this step is pretty easy to do.
The first step is to get the email addresses of the publications you want to target. You can
either do this manually by going to each site and finding the email address, or by using a paid
tool that I’ll show you in a moment.
Manually finding emails for each site you want to target is more timeconsuming,
benefit is that it’s free. So if you’re on an extratight
budget, that’s the way to go. You can
usually find a publication’s email address under their “contact” section. However, some larger
news sites will have a “Submit a tip” link where you can email your pitch to. If you go this
route, just be sure you’ve addressed your tip to the attention of the reporter who covers the
If you’re not able to find the reporter’s contact information on a website, you can always reach
out to them on Twitter (pretty much any serious journalist or blogger working today will have a
Twitter account.), let them know you have some cool information about something they
mentioned in a previous article, or a tip about the topic they cover, and ask what’s the best
email address to send it to.
The two articles below have some more great tips on finding anyone’s email, including
reporters and bloggers you want to reach out to:
If you’d like to save a lot of time, there’s a paid tool called Buzzstream that automates a lot of
the process of getting emails and sending them out. At the time of this writing, Buzzstream
also has a 14day
If you sign up with Buzzstream, simply load up the website url links from the Google
spreadsheet you created earlier with the scraper or from Google News. Run Buzzstream and
it will generate a list containing the website url, social media accounts and email addresses
for each of those sites. You can then paste your story idea pitch into an email, personalize it
and send it out to your blogger/reporter list using Buzzstream’s BuzzBar option (Obviously
you can still do all this stuff manually if you choose not to use Buzzstream).
Once you start sending out emails, you should start getting responses back anywhere from
within a few hours to 23
days, depending on the site. I can’t really give you a template here,
because the exact process will differ somewhat depending on the publication and the type of
story you’re pitching them. But generally if they’re interested, they’ll request more information
about your business, or ask you to send over the tips you wanted to share if you were pitching
them on an informational article, etc. You want to just keep the communication open and
remember to make their job as easy as possible, which will make them more likely to run the
story. Most of all, make sure your website has a landing page where you offer something for
free in exchange for people’s email address, so that when people do read news articles about
you, and they come visit your website, they’ll have a reason to subscribe and get on your
A great thing about your business or product getting media coverage is that coverage tends to
beget coverage, meaning that once blogs or news sites start writing about you, it will make it
easier in the future to get coverage from even bigger and more established news sites, local
and even national TV news and radio.
In fact, once a smaller blog runs a story about your business or product, the very next thing
you should do is send an email including a link to that story to reporters at larger publications
who cover that topic and pitch it as the basis for a related story, repeating the process so that
you get even more coverage. Social proof goes a long way with the media, and reporters will
be much more likely to write about you if they see other people are already talking about you,
because it gives you more credibility. This is how you can go from getting blog posts written
about you on small, local blogs to getting coverage in larger national media outlets.
So what should you do with the surge of traffic you get from all this media coverage?
The best thing to do is to set up a landing page on your website where you offer a free report,
video or newsletter that’s related to the topic of the article. Using the small business marketing
consulting example, you could build on an article about how small businesses can use
Facebook to get more Christmas shoppers into their stores by offering a free Cheat Sheet
with even more tips, such as how to create great Facebook ads, how to get customers to
spend more money once they’re in the store, or how to turn those Christmas shoppers into
repeat customers who keep buying for years to come. Whatever you do, you want to be
building a list, because that’s where you’ll make your real money.
I can’t cover list building in full in the pages of a short WSO like this one, but if you’re
interested in learning about that topic, I recommend picking up a copy of Chris Rempel’s
Rapid List Profit Formula, which teaches you how to build an email list of subscribers and get
them to buy from you again and again.
You now have in your hands information that you can use to generate a flood of traffic any
time you want. If you follow the steps in this report, within days, you can contact dozens or
hundreds of journalists and popular bloggers who need new content to write about or report
on. By making their jobs easier, and providing them with hooks and article ideas that you’ve
already practically written for them, the odds of them covering you go up dramatically.
Getting media coverage has a huge advantage over other forms of advertising because in
addition to bringing in thousands of new visitors to your website overnight, it also makes
people see your business as more credible and can brand you as an expert in your field.
This is potentially lifechanging
information. Use it and let me know how it works for you.
To your success,
Questions/Comments/Success Stories? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve included below a list of extra resources that can help you get a better understanding of
how to effectively get media coverage. These are strategies that have worked for companies
as diverse as tech startups and American Apparel to get tens of thousands of and generate
millions of dollars in sales, so they can work for your business too.
(This is a great Slideshare
presentation by Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media
Manipulator, who worked as marketing director for American Apparel. His campaigns using
the media helped the company generate millions of dollars in sales)
(This is another Slideshare by Ryan Holiday, where he shows you how to
influence blogs to write about you)
ours/ (This is the story of how a startup company unexpectedly got 60,000 new users in 60
the part on “PR Hacking”)
(This is an
article by Neil Patel, of Quicksprout, on how to write great blog posts use
this as a guide for
creating quick drafts of story ideas to send to your media contacts)
(Here’s a bunch more tips on
writing articles and blog posts by Darren Rowse of Copyblogger You
don’t need to know all
this stuff to get started, though. Just follow the steps in this report and get started getting
press coverage. You can always go back and work on creating better story ideas for your
pitches later…After you’ve already gotten featured in the news :))
http://buzzsumo.com/ (This is a HUGELY useful tool for coming up with great story ideas to
pitch to the media, because it allows you to search by topic to find news articles and blog
posts and see which ones are getting shared a lot on social media, allowing you to find out
what topics are already hot within your niche. BuzzSumo offers both free and paid versions.)
(This is a list of contact information for hundreds of
news websites and bloggers, mostly in technologyrelated
Below are three additional resources with tips specifically on how to pitch the media your story
Pitch It: How To Ride The Media Wave