Want to rise above other businesses? Do your own PR and reach out to news outlets. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started:
5 Tips for Successfully Pitching a News Story
- Become a news junkie. This is the best advice we can give to someone trying to learn how to pitch a news story. If you understand the news; the different kinds of media outlets, the types of stories they cover, how deadlines work, and who covers what, you will have a much easier time getting your story covered. Read your local papers, watch your local news, read the outlets you’re pitching, and keep an eye on your industry media. This will make steps 2-5 much, much easier and more effective.
- Make sure your pitch is newsworthy. A sure way to keep your story from being covered is to pitch an advertisement veiled as a news story. Yes, you want your product or company covered, but you have to make sure there is a valid news angle to the story. Make the pitch timely, make it a part of a local or national trend story, and show the reporter why it matters to their audience.
- Find the best media contacts. Becoming a news junkie will help with this one. Before you pitch a story, do your research and find out who you should pitch. If it’s a healthcare story, pitch a healthcare reporter, business story – business reporter. You’re more likely to get the story published if you pitch the right person. Plus, the reporters appreciate the fact that you’ve taken time to get to know their work.
- Pitch your story concisely. Once you’ve got a story that is newsworthy, make sure it can be told or written quickly and to the point. In fact, write it like you are a reporter, not a PR person. Make your press release sound like a news article. When you send a pitch email or make a call (see below) get the news up front so you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
- Follow up. Please don’t tell me that you sent a press release and don’t understand why it wasn’t covered. Think about how many emails you get in a day. How many of those do you read carefully and how many do you skip over? Now think about what a reporter must feel like getting tons of press releases, plus all kinds of other junk mail. The solution is simple. Follow up with the reporter or producer you’re pitching. You can start by email, but unless you get a response you’ll want to make a phone call. Yep, it’s old fashioned but it works. Email them, call them, until you get a yes or a no. And then stop bugging them.