A story in the media is one of the best ways to raise awareness about a company or individual. It’s not any easy thing to get, though; any reporter at an accredited publication has no shortage of people pitching them stories. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
There are a couple different ways to get media attention, but I’ve found the best way to stand out is to be brief. Get to the point. Reporters have deadlines; anything you can do to make their job easier will only help you. The process I outline below has proved very effective for me.
Develop a strategy.
You’ve finished your collateral. Now, it’s time to map out your approach. What state or city is your story relevant to? If you’re looking to place an op-ed on current legislation for wildlife protection in Minnesota, don’t pitch to Arizona. Research the major outlets in Minnesota. If it’s a state-wide issue, make sure the outlet doesn’t cover just local news.
Take advantage of breaking news.
It’s usually beneficial to leverage a news hook. Look for anything cropping up that’s related to the story you are trying to create. New app just released? Perfect. Election season? Even better. No matter the topic, look for the stories already written around it.
Find the right reporters.
If you don’t have access to software like Cision or LexisNexis, use Google News. Find out who is writing about your subject. Once you’ve identified a promising reporter, look at their previous stories. Identify their beat. If you think they’re a good target, add them to your media list. And make note of a recent story; it’s helpful to comment on a previous story in your pitch. Don’t overdo it here. You don’t want to send out 100 pitches. Do your due diligence and find a few reporters you know are the right people.
Keep your pitches short.
Reporters are busy. They don’t have time to read an elaborate email about the content you’re pitching. Keep it concise and deliberate. Tell them what is happening, why it’s important, and give two, maybe three quick bullet points on the content.
I usually get more responses on my follow up than on the initial email. Again, it’s important to keep this short. If they’re interested, they’ll respond. This email should be no more than two sentences.
If you’ve been thorough with your research, it will show through in your pitches. Likewise, if you’re concise in your pitches, it will show that you’ve done your research. Reporters are ordinary people trying to do their jobs; if you approach them with that mindset, you’ll find more success.