How to Pitch Stories Effectively To The Media
In a “Narcissistic” oriented society, companies assume that they have newsworthy stories that the media is salivating to get their hands on. When in fact, today’s editors and publishers are inundated with emails and story ideas from a multitude of companies on a daily basis. What can companies do to get through the clutter and make an impact? The first step is actually having a newsworthy story. Don’t just assume that your story is interesting and unique. It’s important to focus on what’s different about your story and how your company has solved a unique problem for a customer. Why should a magazine editor be interested in your story? What makes your company so great that others will be interested in reading about it. Remember…all CEO’s think their company is the best…so how do the editors differentiate between the best of the bunch?
What makes for a great story? One way is to show how the company has made a positive change for society or a customer. Community relations is a great way to get your company’s story published. Also, developing a new product to solve a problem for a customer makes for a great story. Between print and on-line publications, we have access to information 24/7, which makes Public Relations a great tool for reaching your target audience effectively. Another huge benefit is that you are not paying for media placement. The media prints stories/articles free of charge. Plus it gives your company credibility….which is extremely important in this economy.
It’s all in the pitch…….You have one chance to pitch your story…so don’t blow it! Once you have a newsworthy story…the second step is pitching it correctly. How do you want to portray your company to the press? Do you want exclusivity with one magazine or do you want to get it out there to multiple publications? Set your goals and objectives up front and you will be able to pitch the story to the right people. Be prepared and make sure you have the right contacts from the various print and on-line publications. There can be a high turnover rate for editors..so make sure you continually update your database with the correct contact information. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity due to your story being sent to cyberspace.
It’s time to write the press release……How do you write an effective press release? The key is to focus on the important points in the first two paragraphs. Editors typically don’t have time to read a two page press release and only read the first two paragraphs to see if it’s newsworthy. Grab their attention early on and you will get the call from the editor.
Do Not Send Attachments to Editors……If you want to make an editor agitated….just send a large attachment. The right way to send a press release is to copy and paste it within the body of the email. Inform the editor that upon their request you can send a product photo, etc. Do not just send a picture attachment. Due to all the viruses, an editor will typically not open an attachment and hit “Delete”.
Get Approvals…..Make sure you get written approvals from all parties included in your press release. This is so important and sometimes overlooked.
Directed vs Opportunistic Public Relations – There are two strategies that can be used to launch successful public relations programs. One strategy is called Directed PR, which is when a company pitches a story idea to a particular magazine. The other strategy is called opportunistic and involves researching the publications’ editorial calendars and editorial databases to see current story topics and articles. This helps to pitch a client for an existing “Hot” opportunity.
If you follow the PR guidelines above, you will have a better chance of getting your company in the spotlight. Happy Pitching To All!!!
- Pitching a story idea to print media
- How to Pitch A Story To a Major Magazine
- How to Successfully Pitch a Magazine Article Idea
About Monique Merhige
Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.