Craft a Winning Media Relations PitchYour job is to help your organization reach its business goals through your PR efforts, including creating content and media relations.

Although content on your website is a supporting pillar for your goal of getting on page one of Google results for your primary keywords, it’s just not enough by itself.

To improve your domain authority, it’s important you earn links back to your site from higher domain authority sites.

That’s where contributed content and or media relations comes in.

Media relations is your secret weapon for increasing your website’s search engine optimization.

Unfortunately, many of us miss out on making the best use of this tool.

We struggle to craft a media relations pitch that stands out in a journalist’s inbox or piques an editor’s interest enough to even reply.

Then our resulting piece doesn’t link to our website.

This makes our efforts effectively fluff.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Formula to Craft an Unbeatable Media Relations Pitch

Here is a formula for crafting an unbeatable media relations pitch that drives measurable results:

  1. Start with your priority keywords.
  2. Identify media outlets already publishing—and ranking for—your keywords.
  3. Create high quality owned content on those topics.
  4. Craft a personal pitch, that reflects what you know they’ve published, and shows your expert’s thought leadership in that area, as supported by your owned content.
  5. Optimize your content with anchor text and a link to something very specific on your website.

Start with Your Priority Keywords

Your marketing team should already have a set of keywords they are focusing on for the organization.

Use those keywords as a starting point, but turn them into a statement that could be used as a headline for a high-level piece of content.

Use the Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to make sure your headline reflects a phrase for which people are searching, and will work for the rest of this process.

Once you’ve refined 10 keyword phrases you want to focus your content around, you’re ready to move on to planning your content.

Identify Top Media Outlets Covering Your Topic

Using a Google search, search for each of your keyword phrases and note which high-traffic blogs and media sites your audience visits are on pages one and two of the results.

These are the places you want to earn links from to drive qualified traffic to your website and increase your domain authority.

To prioritize your media outlets, use the Moz toolbar to obtain each site’s domain authority.

This score ranks websites by how authoritative their content is, and thus how highly it is likely to rank in Google searches.

Once you’ve scoured the media outlets, navigate to your website and obtain your own domain authority score.

You will want to focus on obtaining links back to your website from domains with higher authority than yours.

Plan a Content Map

In the PESO model, your earned media ties into—and directly amplifies—your owned content.

Here’s an example of a PESO content map in action:

  • Use the primary keyword phrase, “How to Build a Media Contact List.”
  • Owned Media: Identify two posts to live on the organization’s blog, and an eBook to post on the website behind a lead form.
  • Earned media: For each of the blog posts, identify three contributed content ideas to pitch to publications, and three to pitch to blogs.

For each of the identified blogs or media outlets, you will pitch an idea related to one of the topics you included in your content map for publication on your company blog.

These are broad topics that work up to the “media contact” keyword phrase.

Once you’ve completed your media relations outreach, you have six higher domain websites pointing back to content on your blog.

Make sure at least one of those posts points to that eBook you have behind a landing page. When the reader obtains it in exchange for their email address, you now have a measurable lead generation tool.

When the reader obtains it in exchange for their email address, you now have a measurable lead generation tool.

Craft a Personal Pitch

You won’t want to immediately pitch media outlets on your topics.

You want to give Google and the other search engines time to crawl your site and see your content first.

While you cool your jets for at least 30 days after you publish your second post on your topic, you should spend some time building relationships with the journalists and bloggers you’ve planned to pitch.

You’ll want to interact with them on social and amplify their content.

That way, when you are ready to pitch, your name will be familiar to them.

You’ll also have a much better idea of their beat and preferences.

In your pitch, briefly outline who you (or the executive you are pitching) are and cite your owned content as examples of your expertise and prior take on the topic.

Note that you’ve seen a specific piece of content on a related topic, and would like to pitch them on your topic.

Every day, journalists receive an inbox full of pitches from people they don’t know, on topics they don’t cover.

Spending the time to individually craft each pitch—instead of writing a generic pitch and spamming it out to your entire media list—will stand out.

Optimize Your Content

Your pitch has been accepted, but you’re not finished yet!

Regardless of if you’ve scored coverage or publication of contributed content, you’ll want to include a link back to your website from relevant anchor text.

Going back to the above example, it would be hyperlinked anchor text that uses the phrase “media contact.”

That text would then link one of the media contact blog posts on your site.

By including this link to your site, not only will you begin to see an improvement in your domain authority over time, you now have something concrete to measure.

Each month, go into your web analytics and search for each of the websites you successfully pitched.

You should see them in your traffic referral reports.

If not, that tells you the site isn’t a good fit for your audience, and you should re-prioritize your media outlets.

While this process takes more time than a batch and blast pitching approach, it has significantly better results—both in terms of placements and in driving qualified leads into your sale funnel.

That’s priceless.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich