Traditional media, bloggers and social media influencers are constantly being bombarded by public relations consultants. Cutting through the clutter and securing a story takes strategic thought, solid research and a large dose of tenacity.
A PR consultant works hard to help both their client and the media do their jobs. It’s a balancing act to ensure they are sharing their client’s key messages but in a way that helps the media do its job.
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The best way to attract media’s attention is to develop a killer media pitch. Like a good elevator speech, a great media pitch must get to the point, be relevant and provide insight that sparks an idea for a media person to act and cover your story.
A great pitch gives the media the stories it needs and brings the organization’s message in subtly through the back door.
The basics of a successful media pitch include:
A great headline – one that stands out, makes you want to learn more, is entertaining and/or informative.
A unique angle – media are generally not followers. They want to be the first with a unique story or compelling angle.
Solid facts – a good pitch needs to rely on solid facts, studies, customer case studies or market research.
A total package – putting many of the pieces in place ensures you aren’t creating too much work for the media. Offer them a package to tell the story – Ensure you have spokespeople who are not only available, but also articulate, enthusiastic and well informed. For television, print and social media, offer visuals – a stunning photo op, video, infographics, animation, images, charts and graphs. The more tools you can offer the media the better.
Targeted – it is important to research media targets so you only send a pitch to those who may be interested. For example never send a news email blast to anyone with publisher in their title. You will do more damage and just annoy your media contacts. A good PR person knows the various beats that reporters work on and should follow stories and themes as they develop. It’s important to make an honest effort to understand a journalist’s body of work.
Clean – never ramble on, be overly commercial or fail to proofread. Media (and PR people) are in the business of words and are instantly turned off by sloppy writing.
These tips should help to create a pitch that attracts the right kind of attention. It is also good to follow-up by phone or email but avoid stalking the media. If they indicate they are not interested, accept it and move on. There is always another great story that needs telling.