With digital and content marketing now becoming the bywords for business promotion in the financial services industry, it can be easy to overlook more traditional methods of spreading the word.
Yet earning coverage in a publication that is read by your client base can help to raise awareness of your business among your clients and promote you as a leader in your field. So how can you ensure that your feature pitch is going to be snapped up by the ‘must-read’ publication in your area of financial services?
Know the publication
It may sound obvious, but you have more chance of getting a commission if you know the publication inside out. For a start, you want to ensure that the article is of interest to the readers. Secondly, you want to know that you have got the timing spot on.
For example, there is no point in pitching an article on the challenges or benefits that fintech is going to bring to your area of financial services if an almost identical feature appeared in the previous edition.
On the other hand, if you have read an article on the challenges that fintech is going to bring to your sector, perhaps you could pitch a feature arguing how you think a new technology could make financial firms such as yours thrive?
Have a unique angle
Even the hottest topics can reach saturation point in the press. But editors are always eager for a new viewpoint.
There is an argument that the UK tech industry could suffer greatly due to the lack of domestic IT programming expertise. So, could you survey the tech firms you advise to see how a curb on immigration would impact them, putting a fresh slant on the Brexit/migrant debate?
Make the pitch as engaging as the article
Once you have your unique angle, you need to summarise it as succinctly as possible while leaving the editor hungry for more. Editors get bombarded with emails.
According to the Harvard Business Review, journalists at NYtimes.com, TheGuardian.com, and CNN.com receive more than 38,000 emails a year – three times that of the average worker. Almost two-thirds (26,000) of those emails are sent from people trying to get press coverage.
So the first step is to make your subject line stand out. Don’t make the subject of your email ‘Feature pitch’; instead it should be ‘Feature pitch: How Brexit could put 80% of our tech clients out of business.’
Once you have intrigued the editor enough to convince them to open the email, you should give a brief summary of what the feature will entail. The summary should include some top-line stats and an engaging quote.
You want to make the pitch short enough for the editor to be able to read quickly while leaving them wanting to know more. A pitch that is around 100 words in length, or three to four sentences, is ideal.
Know who you are pitching to
It doesn’t matter how unique your angle is, and how engaging your email subject line, if you have pitched to the wrong person. A single publication may have a senior editor, managing editor, features editor, digital editor and commissioning editor. So you need to know which one to contact.
If you have sent your email to the wrong editor, you shouldn’t rely on the fact that it will get forwarded on to the right one. At the very least, you should find out exactly who has responsibility for commissioning features and articles before sending a pitch.
A better approach is to find out who that editor is and try to build a relationship with them. That may be a coffee meeting to discuss what sort of features would be of interest or even engaging with them on social media.
If an editor knows who you are, this will decrease the chances of your feature pitches sinking to the bottom of their sea of emails.
Don’t be afraid to chase
Once you have sent your pitch, don’t write it off if you haven’t heard anything back. Even if you have taken all the above steps, there are a number of reasons why the editor may not have got back to you. They may be going to press with the current issue of the publication, for example, or they may like your idea but not have space for it at the present time.
A quick follow-up call will determine whether the editor didn’t see your email, has already filled that month’s magazine or wasn’t interested in the pitch.
If it is the latter, then you can thank them for their time and then pitch to a rival publication.