Enter the 21st century. Traditional media relations tactics don’t work anymore. Today, we’re not just pitching to overworked, time-strained reporters with slots to fill. We’re pitching to an active, engaged group of media-savvy individuals – reporters, bloggers, even videographers – who value their audience and know their messages will be carried far and wide. Additionally, they are the gatekeepers – charged with helping weed out the nonsense.
So what works when pitching stories to the media? Simple: Truly newsworthy stories. Let me say that again, truly newsworthy stories. Stories that feature human beings. Stories of innovation and goodwill. Stories about companies, events and people that impact their communities.
Don’t get me wrong, well-crafted press releases and pitches can go far, regardless of the story they’re pitching. There are many Public Relations (PR) professionals who are great at creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with reporters and know how to make relevant pitches and put their client’s or company’s news in front of the right eyeballs.
But for those of us who are just learning the PR ropes, here are a few tips:
- PR pros represent their company or client AND the community at large. They know what’s happening locally, in their specific industry and the reporter’s beat and coverage history. Good PR is about on-target pitches and making the right choices when it comes to which media opportunities to pursue.
- When pitching your story, remember you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. Be ready to pitch your story in 30 seconds or less. Identify why your story is significant to the media source and how readers/viewers can benefit from your story.
- Consider the use of social media to get your client’s story to traditional media outlets. Many publications and stations have their own fan pages; also consider ‘friending’ a reporter or two.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that the best PR professionals guide clients through the pitch process, helping them to better understand which events are truly newsworthy. Don’t be afraid to pick and choose – only the best story pitches are worth the time and effort it takes to make a media splash.
So there you have it – time to craft that perfect pitch. Batter’s up!
I added in this last image just for kicks, doesn’t it make you want to run over to the baseball park?