In the past, small business owners and non-profit organizational leads have approached me frustrated and confused as to why their media contacts are hesitant to cover their stories. Some have even had excellent media pitches and press releases, so their confusion is understandable.
But, it’s also important to remember that while you may be a great writer, that doesn’t mean your media contact is going to publish your story. Your company news has to be newsworthy, meaning it’s got to meet a certain criteria to be considered. And with the extra work journalists have to complete these days – and the rising number of citizen journalists, print space can be tricky to earn!
Below are some of our tried and tested best-practice tips for pitching stories to the media – which have helped earn some pretty dynamic client media coverage, (if we do say so ourselves.) 🙂
Pitch Stories That are Relevant to Your Media Contacts
Know your #media contact’s beats, and this involves a bit of research, either from good old-fashioned Google Search, or with a media database like Vocus or Cision. Make sure your news is relevant to them. If you’re a make-up manufacturer with a killer tutorial on creating lash “wings,” don’t send your news to a business reporter. Seems simple enough, right? Even better: if you know the name of the journalist or blogger you’re trying to pitch coverage from, a Google search will produce an array of stories they’ve written and the outlets they appeared in. Research media contacts.
Offer “Exclusive” Content or Embargoed News
Breaking news or extraordinary content is key. Especially in the broadcast world. The press release is not as “dead” as people think. Entice your contact with company news that’s important or juicy, but make SURE you make this clear to the journalist!
Make your Media Pitch/Content Easy-to-Understand
News doesn’t always have to come in the form of a press release. While the #pressrelease isn’t dead, they can be enormously lengthy or boring! Did your company just complete a unique industry survey? Instead of a release, incorporate results into visual aids, like infographics or image briefs! These are fantastic pieces for online publications because content is usually segmented into important, need-to-know points, and visual data is much easier to absorb. (And share on social media!)
Don’t Badger Your Media Contact
Do NOT call the journalist 20 times in a row to ensure they received your news. The media are under tight deadlines and are always busy. Send your material(s) and wait a day or so before you give them a call. (This comes down to being respectful, covered below.) Be friendly, say hello and ask how their day is. Tip: Search them on #socialmedia and note their interests. Then use these tidbits to make small talk to lift any awkwardness. They’ll appreciate the effort and this helps builds media relationships.
Respect Media Deadlines
Reporters and bloggers work on #deadlines. When they’re interrupted it can be really bad for your story. If by some miracle you get them on the phone, ASK if it’s a good time to talk. Also, editors often hand out very last-minute to reporters. So be ready. Always have your #smallbusiness and #nonprofit media kits readily available so you don’t miss a #media coverage opportunity!