How to time your outreach to influencers and press

2 Comments 09.24.13

When should you start outreach to press and pillars of the community before you’re going to announce something? That’s something people ask a lot, something I’ll be discussing at this week’s inaugural HypePDX marketing event in Portland and something I’d recommend most people change their approach to. I’ve been on both sides of the equation, as a journalist for thousands and thousands of pitches and now as an entrepreneur doing outreach myself.

Here are your options as I see them for press and influencer outreach, an embargo may or may not be appropriate. (Here’s how they work. More general thoughts on promoting a product launch.)

The worst: Last minute cold pitch with an asserted embargo and weakly relevant reference to the person’s past content. (“I saw you once wrote about X, so I’m writing you out of the blue about an announcement tomorrow and it’s embargoed until 9am!”)

Less bad: A week ahead of time with a well-run embargo. (“We have an announcement about general topic X that we’ll be making next Tuesday at 9am PST. Can I send you info about it under embargo until that time?”)

Realistic: A month ahead of time with conversations online so you’re a known entity when you pitch. (“Hi, I’m that person who’s been commenting smartly and resharing your content with my own added editorial value for the past few weeks. You already have some respect for me! We have an announcement about general topic X that we’ll be making next Tuesday at 9am PST. Can I send you info about it under embargo until that time?”)

Ideal: You’re talking with them right now, you’ll have been around for awhile. When it’s announcement time you’ll be able to say “Hey old buddy, we have an announcement about general topic X that we’ll be making next Tuesday at 9am PST. Can I send you info about it under embargo until that time?”

Pitching is just one of many ways to build visibility for your company. It used to be the primary way when media was centralized, but now we’re all talking online all the time and just being visibly awesome and adding value to public conversations helps you build thought leadership. You’ll probably still want to pitch though and so I hope these suggestions on timing are helpful!


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  • J Christine Feeley

    Marshall GREAT guidance, I once had a very successful entrepreneur share his secret to success: “I give good phone”. A simple and funny message but also very clear. Similar to your suggestions, he was a big advocate of also engaging in “live” one-to-one discussions.

  • Thanks Christine. The more I experiment with real-time communication (I’m using BananaTag and Hubspot’s Signals lately) the more I think that an extended history of “live interactions” makes a strong foundation for marketing over time. Thanks for the comment!