Being featured in the media is a great cost-effective way to generate exposure for your business. For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, being featured in the news is the essence of PR to them (media relations is actually only one facet of PR, but we’ll leave this topic for another post!).
Effective media pitching is more of an art than a science. Keep in mind that most reporters receive hundreds, if not thousands, of pitches a week so making sure that your pitch peaks their interest is critical.
Before you make your pitch, you must first hash out your story, define your audience, and choose your angle – doing this will help you to organize your thoughts when you contact a reporter, and it will also help you to target your pitch to the right media outlets.
It is important to remember that each individual reporter or news editor will have their own criteria for selecting pitches to pursue and feature, so with that in mind, here are some great tried and tested tips for pitching the media:
- Decide between local media vs. national media: Local media will only cover geographically specific news and topics, while national media tend to cover broader areas and topics. It is usually easier to pitch a story (that is geographically relevant) to your local media as their focus is on happenings in your community. National outlets tend to cover stories that have broader universal appeal – it is important when you first develop your pitch that you figure out if your story has local or national appeal, and then choose your outlets accordingly.
- Familiarize yourself with the publication: Take the time to know the media outlet’s focus, target audiences, reporting style, and the outlet’s format and frequency of publishing – knowing all of this will help you to decide if this outlet is the right fit for your story.
- Know the reporter’s specialty area and their interests: If a reporter recently wrote a story on new refrigerator doors, don’t pitch them on the same story, even if your company makes the best refrigerator doors ever! Reporters will seldom cover the same story twice so don’t waste your time. And always take the time to read through some of the reporter’s past articles to get a sense of what topics they tend to cover, this will help you to target your pitch and make sure you choose the reporter best suited to your story.
- Never tell a reporter how badly you need the publicity: Newsflash, reporters don’t care about promoting your business and interests, they care about their readers’ interests and bringing them the most balanced and useful information.
- Be aware of what’s currently making headlines: Being aware of current news will help you to determine whether your pitch is relevant at that moment in time. For example, if your story is about snow tires and your area has just experienced a major snow storm, this is a golden opportunity for you! All reporters are looking for a targeted pitch that describes what the news is and why their readers will care, if your pitch is timely and relevant, the greater the chance it will be picked up.
Do leave us a comment and let us know how your pitch went – happy pitching to you!