If you want to get people to actually show up for your Meetups, you’ve got to get your group in front of a lot of people. For most groups, that means promoting outside of Meetup.
Meetup is popular, but there are still millions of people who have never used it once. Some of those people would come to your group if only they knew about it, and they’re not going to log into Meetup to find you. That’s why getting journalists to talk about your Meetup is so effective.
Pitching Your Meetup to Journalists
Pitching your Meetup is easier than you might think! Having run multiple successful Meetups for almost 5 years now, we thought it might be time to share a thought or two on how to increase exposure for your Meetup.
We’ve got pitching your Meetup down to two simple steps.
Step 1: Pick your contact(s).
Use a little common sense on this one. If you organize a tech Meetup, look for a technology or business reporter. If you run a moms group, try a parenting or lifestyle reporter.
Not sure who this might be?
Grab a recent copy of a relevant local paper or magazine, or browse the publication’s website to track down the most appropriate contact.
These people need stories and content, so if you get the second step right, you’re doing them a favor.
Step 2: Tell your story creatively and concisely.
What makes your Meetup interesting? Why does it matter for your city or town?
Draft an email to send to the contact you identified. Try to keep the intro short. Remember, journalists receive hundreds of emails every day. Focus on a couple of things that make your Meetup especially interesting to that person’s readers.
Pro tips for promoting your Meetup effectively:
Have your stats down pat.
Know the basics – when your group was created, how many members you have, how frequently you meet, all that jazz.
Most importantly, you should be able to sum up why your Meetup was formed. A good founding story is easier to share, especially if it tugs on your heartstrings a little.
Have photos handy.
Even if journalists are interested in your story, they won’t necessarily be able to come to your Meetup to get an inside scoop. You’re far more likely to be featured if you reduce the amount of work the writer needs to do before posting.
Make sure you have a few great photos of your group in action, preferably high-resolution shots that need little to no editing.
Think about lead times.
Most magazines work three to six months in advance, while newspapers, websites, and blogs have shorter lead times.
Here’s what that means for you:
If you’re pitching a time-sensitive Meetup activity, be sure to work backward so reporters have enough time to consider your group, do a little bit of background research if they want, and get an article written and submitted on time.
If a journalist expresses interest in your story, be ready to deliver.
You may be asked to provide additional information, send photos, videos, or other visuals, or schedule a time to talk.
Provide your phone number and email address with your submission, and make sure you check both. You’ll likely get passed over if it’s hard to get in touch with you.
Keep it personal.
Personalize your pitch for each reporter, so it’s clear that you did your homework about the news they typically cover.
Nobody likes getting copied and pasted messages that are clearly being sent to lots of people. Also, never ever email a batch of people all at the same time. Send individual messages and put some thought into each one.
And most importantly…don’t lose faith!
There’s no guarantee that the journalists you pitch will write about your Meetup. Odds are, you’re going to reach out to a lot of people who never answer you at all.
But you know what they say: if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Just because your story didn’t resonate today doesn’t mean it never will.
Please respect the journalists you email. Don’t spam them or send multiple follow-ups asking if they got your message, because they definitely did. An unanswered email is a “no” from that person. Move on and email someone else.
Below, we have drafted a sample email that you can reference when reaching out to reporters in your local area.
Make sure you personalize it before using it! This is just a guide to help get you started. Inserting your own personality and experience with your Meetup group will be key to attracting attention from reporters.
Subject: [Insert type] Meetup community growing in [your city or town]
I’m the organizer of the [hyperlink to your Meetup group name] in [your city or town]. We’re a group that meets [insert frequency] to [describe the focus of your Meetup group]. My Meetup is a great way to [i.e. make new friends, network, learn a new skill, etc.]. We’ve grown to be a force in the [your city or town] community; since I started the group in [insert year], we’ve grown to [# of members].
I thought you might be interested in our Meetup because [insert specifics].
Our Meetup is a dynamic group, and we’d love to invite more people to participate. Would you be interested in learning more about our Meetup, and potentially sharing what you’ve learned with your readers? I’d love to invite you to attend our next Meetup. I’d be happy to share a photo of our Meetup in-action, too!