Getting the media to pick up your company’s stories and press releases is vital to keeping your company in the forefront of consumers’ minds. It’s rare that a Reporter picks up your story without it being pitched to him first. So, it’s crucial to make the pitch relevant and personal to the Reporter’s beat. Here are four simple steps on how to pitch your story more successfully.
1. Story Eclipses Everything
Everyone loves a good story—and Reporters are no exception! When pitching about your product or service, remember that it’s not about the product or services, it’s about people and lives. If you can bring in a human aspect, something that invokes emotion, Reporters will be more likely to pick up your story. Before you reach out to a Reporter, ask yourself, “what is the story and why will people care?”
2. Reporters are PRODUCERS
Gone are the days where Reporters only write articles and nothing else. With the move to online and digital platforms, Reporters have to create content that appeals to all audiences. That means using pictures, videos, infographics, graphs, and much more to catch and hold readers’ attention, as well as concisely convey the message. If you can share some of this content with a Reporter when pitching, she’ll be more likely to pick up on your story. Note to the wise—make sure that this content is embedded into the email. Getting an email with an attachment from an unknown source can sometimes cause Reporters to be cautious about opening the attachment and you lose the opportunity to “wow” them.
3. Be Straightforward
True, a story eclipses everything. But, there’s nothing more annoying to Reporters than picking up on a story that isn’t actually a story. While you need to help the Reporter feel the enthusiasm you feel about your company, make sure that everything in your message is straightforward and truthful. One Reporter cautioned, “Be as honest with Reporters as they are with their audiences.” Audiences can pick up on fake news and Reporters can pick up on fake pitches.
4. Build Relationships with Reporters
No one likes being around people who only care about themselves. Sometimes this is how Reporters feel when receiving pitches. The key to success in pitching begins with a mutually beneficial relationship. It needs to be formed before your current idea is even pitched. Here are some simple suggestions on how to build relationships:
- Share the Reporter’s stories on social media, not just the one he published about your company, but other articles he wrote, too. They appreciate the assistance in getting increased exposure.
- Help the Reporter cut through the clutter by using a unique subject line in your email. Many times, Reporters are sent mass emails for pitches. Using her name and publication in your subject line helps you stand out from the other mass emails.
- Offer the Reporter something they want. For example, give them a chance to talk with the CEO of your company who can offer unique insights into your field, or give them the opportunity to tour your new office space.
- Once Reporters pick up interest in your story, make sure you connect them with an expert at your company with whom to talk. Reporters feel their time has been wasted when you present them with someone who doesn’t know the company or field well.
When it comes down to it, an experienced Media Relations professional is not required to have your piece picked up by Reporters. Following these 4 steps, you will get that needed exposure and earned media to attract and maintain your target consumers.
Suggestions came from Journalists Tell All: What PR Pros Need to Know in 2019 Webinar led by Megan DeLaire, Tom Hallan Jr., and Christopher Elliot. The Webinar was a Bulldog Reporter production.