Pitching to the media is not an easy task and there is no guaranteed ways to achieve coverage.
While you might think your company’s latest news has great potential for coverage you may find journalists feel otherwise.
There are some very simple things you can do to help your chances of having your story picked up.
Firstly, check what you are pitching is actually news and not only interesting to those inside your organisation.
As disappointing as it may seem, something that is important to you might only elicit a shrug of the shoulders from a journalist.
If you believe it does have wider appeal then consider who exactly is the audience and the publications they would read.
Is it interesting to people in the same industry, in your town or does it have country-wide appeal?
Look at trade media, local newspapers and national media as well as their specialist sections, read your target media’s stories and social media to find a journalist who has covered similar stories previously.
Now it is time to pitch your story – try to keep your email brief, a few paragraphs, with a short subject line that gets straight to the point.
Give a short summary of the press release and explain why it’s important to their readers and why it is important to cover this news now.
If you’re attempting to ‘newsjack’, ie. offer coverage or comment linked to a massive news story, move quickly and make sure you have something interesting to say, a strong link to the story or can give a quirky take.
Timing is everything so the quicker you can get a press release out, the better.
There is no use trying to get coverage for something that happened last week or later.
When you’re ready to send the email, make it personal but not overly friendly, address the journalist by name and use the publication’s title too.
And then what?
Well, it would be amazing if you could sit back, relax and enjoy all that sweet coverage from all those journalists you’ve emailed.
Unfortunately, that is pretty unlikely to happen.
Even if you have a strong angle, a well-curated media list and sent out a concise email you may still find that nobody has picked it up.
That’s when you hit the phones.
Unless your press release has a short ‘use-by’ date, you should give the journalist a day or two before a follow up call.
Be polite, appreciate they receive scores of PR emails everyday and be prepared to have to explain the story again and offer alternative angles if they’re not initially interested.
Hopefully, they will see the value in using the press release and you will have your coverage.
Even if they’re still not interested, it’s a good chance to build a relationship with the journalist for future press releases and ask them to bear you in mind if they think you could offer comment in any upcoming news stories or features.