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The Art of Pitching Your Story to the Media

June 8, 2010

Who

  • It is always more effective directing your pitch to the editors as they decide on what is newsworthy information.
  • The journalists are usually assigned different stories though they can recommend your story if they are approached.
  • The equilvalent in broadcast media will be the producers of radio shows and TV programs.

When

  • The best time to approach a journalist isn’t just before he is due to submit his stories.
  • It is advisable that you send your pitch through email and follow up with a call. It may take a few more days before the journalist gets back to you if your story isn’t about an event.

What

  • Ensure you have a press release with all the supporting information, including key personnel’s contact preferably with their Linkedin profiles.
  • Photos, drawings and other visual information should be linked from a social media file sharing site. This is to enable the journalist to conduct further background research to your story.
  • If your story is an upcoming event, ensure you have briefed the different participants on the possibility of being interviewed during the event.

How

  • Pictures. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a great picture is worth a million.
  • Inclusive vs. Exclusive. Some members of the press will only cover your story if they are promised an exclusive coverage. If you feel that the readership base or audience of the particular media is your target audience, offering exclusivity may be a good idea.
  • Tell the insider’s story. If your pitch is about an event, Inviting the journalist to participate may produce a story based on insider’s feedback and evaluation. The advantage of this approach is you can offer this to various members of the press.
  • Be Creatively or Controversial. Always be creative in your story. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases daily. Most of them end up in the trash if there is nothing unique about the pitch.
  • Homework – Survey/Trend/Insights. The easiest way to propose a hard news story is to conduct a survey and present your new findings. This is effective in positioning your company as the leader of your industry
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