We've recently written quite a bit about how to pitch your natural product to members of the media (like me, and the rest of the NewHope360 editorial team). We've given suggestions for pitching at Natural Products Expo East and had several panels during Expo East that talked about how media like to be pitched. But the truth is members of the media are consumers too, and unless you have a compelling story or product, you may not make their editorial calendar (or their shopping cart.)
With this in mind, why spend so much time learning how to pitch at all? Of course, your delivery method and message do matter. In fact, Expo East panelists Amanda Freeman, founder and editor in chief of Vital Juice; Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal; and Sophie Uliano, owner of Gorgeously Green, all said that they prefer personalized pitches over press releases. An even better pitch for Uliano is a personalized note. For Lewis, he prefers e-mail and Twitter over phone calls, while Freeman said packages create quite a buzz in the office.
During the panel, Mikal Belicove, columnist and contributing writer for Entrepreneur magazine, made an interesting point about press releases. He prefers not to read them because he wants to report on the story in his own way, instead of being influenced by how the press release wants him to report the story.
It struck me, as I listened to the panel, at how differently business-to-business and business-to-consumer journalists like to be pitched. I thrive on press releases—in fact, it's one of the quickest ways we find out what's happening with industry associations and scientific research. I use them as a starting point to gain perspective, then follow up with analysis on what the news means for industry. While I don't think the press release is dead, the press release does have to be well-written and communicate the importance of the news in the first paragraph, otherwise it meets my digital trash can.
That said, I also enjoy personalized messages and when companies reach out to me via social media. Recently, The Bear & the Rat, Cool Treats for Dogs (@CoolTreats4Dogs) messaged me on Twitter about sending me some samples of their frozen dog yogurt for my dog, Willow. Co-founder Meg Hanceford Meyer saw on my Twitter description that I owned a papillon and worked for New Hope Natural Media. I was blown away by her social media savvy, and my dog was blown away by their tasty, natural frozen yogurt. I followed up with Cool Treats for Dogs, and you'll get to read more about their product and their social media tips next week.
Ultimately, although business and consumer-focused journalists may prefer slightly different delivery methods, we're all looking forward to discovering your news. So whether you send a press release or a tweet, be authentic. And remember, we're writing about this industry because we love it as much as you do.