Media relations can be tricky business. It requires a solid understanding of who you’re talking to—including outlets, reporters and audiences—to secure a story in the right channel at the right time. That’s true for all earned media efforts but it becomes even more difficult when pitching internationally due to language and cultural barriers.
Much of a global campaign’s success depends on initial preparation to ensure the best possible market intelligence. What is the media landscape? How do people in each location interact with the media? What has already been said in this market on this topic, and what are people saying in real time?
Here are five tips for successfully executing an international media relations campaign.
1. Provide a generous lead time prior to the campaign launch.
Preparing a global pitching effort can be time consuming, especially if you’re entering a new market or attempting to reach a new audience. It’s best to invest time to strategically plan your media relations efforts to ensure you have everything you need to execute the campaign effectively.
Pitching in a foreign market can include difficult-to-anticipate roadblocks with differences in media infrastructure and cultural norms (not to mention time zones). Know that some unexpected challenges may arise and build in time to address any challenges as they arise.
2. Identify platforms supporting your target demographics.
It’s important to ensure that your vendors—media research databases, media monitoring services, etc.—are capable of supporting your international efforts. This includes helping identify outlets and reporters and tracking individual placements in each country.
Newsdesk, our global media monitoring and analytics service, can track print, broadcast and digital media placements in countries around the world. In addition, the database provides a searchable history of coverage in each area to help you identify reporters and outlets who may be covering similar topics.
3. Leverage a global distribution service.
Using a global distribution service capable of reaching all of your target countries can be critical to a successful global pitching campaign. Of course, wire services are used in addition to pitching individual outlets and reporters, but researching, identifying, and pitching each reporter for an international media relations effort is a lofty, and unnecessary, goal. Global distribution services already have relationships with many of the outlets you may be trying to reach. It can be costly, but the return on investment is worth it compared to the time and effort your team would spend pitching individually.
Perhaps most importantly, global wires often provide translation services as well to overcome language barriers. Combining translation and distribution services to one vendor can save time throughout the pitching process.
4. Contract a freelancer to support pitching efforts on the ground.
Hiring a freelancer in each location can provide invaluable support when pitching internationally. Ideally, the freelancer would already be familiar with or have relationships with the international outlets and reporters you’re trying to reach. But at the very least, they can help you understand how to successfully navigate the area’s culture and media environment.
If hiring a freelancer is not an option, try to identify a contact who is familiar with the area for an informational interview. This could be an employee if your organization has a presence in the location. Being able to connect with someone who is familiar with the customs and media landscape—even if they don’t have a background in media relations—can be extremely helpful when developing an international pitching strategy.
5. Set expectations.
Global pitching comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially for organizations new to such an undertaking. It’s important to set expectations with clients, both internal and external, about realistic outcomes depending on the target market. For example, when pitching in areas with less infrastructure, landing and tracking placements becomes increasingly difficult for non-local organizations. It’s certainly not impossible, but far more difficult than pitching a story in your home country or in an area with more media infrastructure.
If it’s your first foray into international pitching, consider a “trial run” to understand the landscape before embarking on a significant campaign with higher stakes.
In the end, the name of the game is research, research, research. Especially for a global media relations initiative, having the right resources and dedicating the time to understanding a foreign media climate is critical.
To get a one-on-one demo of our media monitoring and analytics services—and to understand how they can provide the best global market insights—contact us today.