Technology has transformed the media landscape. Fintechs and their PR representation can now access an unprecedented array of tools to gain intelligence and more effectively pitch themselves and their clients to journalistic publications. However, because each reporter and media outlet has different methods and preferences, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensure your pitch is reaching the right people and being considered.
Over the course of our internship at Forefront, we sat down with journalists from three influential publications in the institutional fintech and capital markets space – WatersTechnology, Markets Media and Institutional Investor – to learn more about how they operate and what they look for in a pitch. Their perspectives varied, but one thing is certain: it is crucial to understand both the needs of your client and the nuances of the specific publication you are looking to reach.
Informed by these conversations, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to pitching industry publications and securing earned media coverage.
Do: Deliver Your Initial Pitch via Email
While each journalist and Financial Technology publication differs, it is typically best to initiate conversations through email. This enables you to represent your client and their interests in a manner that is both professional and direct. When asked about his preferred method of outreach, Terry Flanagan of Markets Media shared that email is the most effective way to ensure a pitch is heard, as it is the industry standard in communication.
Don’t: Reach Out to Journalists Through Direct Messages
If your initial email outreach doesn’t net a response, follow up with a phone call after a reasonable amount of time. Rebecca Natale of WatersTechnology stated that she prefers a follow-up phone call to a direct message. However, immediately following up an email with a phone call can come off as aggressive or overbearing, so it is essential to spread outreach over an appropriate period of time.
Do: Tailor Your Pitch to the Publication
Before crafting your pitch, be sure to do your homework. Make it clear that you have researched the journalist’s past work to ensure you represent your client in a way that appeals to the direct interests of the publication. Since journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, ones that are vague and general will likely be discarded in favor of stronger pitches. Jessica Hamlin of Institutional Investor suggested doing your due diligence before emailing your pitch to a journalist, including researching the publication and preparing an explanation for why that publication is the best to write about your client.
Don’t: Send Mass Emails to Publications That Are Not Relevant
There is no silver bullet for pitching a client or story. It is glaringly obvious when a journalist receives a mass email blast containing only a general overview of your client and their goals. When emailing a publication, ensure that your pitch stands out. For example, in Fintech, it is best to focus on publications in the financial services or banking and fintech space. Personalize the email to best catch the eye of the individual reading it, and don’t flood journalists’ inbox with irrelevant pitches – otherwise, it can make them less likely to engage with your outreach when there is fit for their coverage.
Do: Establish Genuine Connections with Journalists
There is no substitute for forging meaningful connections between your company or agency and the publications you interact with. Both Rebecca Natale and Nyela Graham from WatersTechnology shared that their best relationships are with firms that they often see, whether on social media or in professional settings. Journalists are more likely to be receptive to pitches when they have an established relationship with the sender, as opposed to a person or agency contacting them out of the blue.
Don’t: Disregard the Collaborative Process
The relationship between media relations professionals and journalists should be mutually beneficial, not one-sided. For example, Flanagan finds it off-putting when individuals come across as self-promotional, especially when there is not a strong relationship between the agency and the publication. Pitches are more likely to be successful when there is a longstanding connection between the journalist and the public relations team.
There is no clear-cut ideal approach when reaching out to journalists. Just like the companies that make up the institutional fintech space, every journalist is unique. That said, initiating communication in a professional manner, tailoring your pitch to the publication and making an effort to establish a relationship with the publication are all tried-and-true ways to put your best foot forward. With these suggestions in mind, you can craft a refined pitch that not only best represents your client’s needs, but also garners interest from publications and journalists alike.