A reporter’s job is not easy. They are faced with multiple deadlines, with writing and producing visuals for both print and online, and with trying to become an expert (or at least proficient) in dozens of subjects.
Unfortunately, this heavy workload makes it harder for you to connect with traditional reporters. Here are some tips for getting their attention.
Pitch the right person. It amazes me that so many PR people target the wrong reporters, especially with the amount of information available today. Search for articles about your topic and pitch the reporters covering the “space.” Check the publication’s beat list, which is often online. Search in a PR database for appropriate media outlets and reporters that cover your industry.
Pitch people over products. Show the product or service in action—how it’s helping businesses be more profitable, doctors save lives and teachers educate the younger generation.
Or craft a story around how the product was developed. What were the problems? Challenges? Obstacles? Who was involved? Where did the idea come from? Give reporters a plot and you’ll increase the chances they’ll “bite” on your story idea.
Make your email subject line work for you. To avoid the dreaded “delete” key, include important keywords in your subject line. Even better, refer to past articles or coverage. A subject line that says “about your story on….” can dramatically increase the chances that your email will be read.
Begin with ( “what’s in it for them.” Tell the reporters why they should care in the first paragraph of the pitch. Provide the facts—the who, what, when, where, why and how—at the beginning.
Go heavy on data. Reporters love statistics. Give them timely information from reputable sources. Put the word “statistics” in your subject line. Bullet the data in your email or pitch. This will help establish you as a source.
Avoid attachments. Any attachment will probably be lost or get stripped away. Include pertinent data in the message or provide links for the reporters to get the information online.
Have a good online news room. Increasingly reporters rely on online newsrooms for research. Make sure yours is complete, easy to search and accessible. Include high-quality, downloadable visuals and video.
Be active on social media. Reporters say they look for experts and story ideas on virtually all the major social media platforms. Pick the most important one or two platforms and be “present” there. In the best of possible worlds, the reporters might start calling you without you even pitching them.
In short, make it easy for the reporter. Do as much of the research and creative thinking as possible. That’s the easiest, most effective way to get media attention.