A reporter’s job is not an easy one. There are fewer of them than even a few years ago, and they are faced with multiple deadlines, with writing for both print and online, and with trying to become an expert (or at least proficient) in dozens of subjects.
Unfortunately, this also means it is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with reporters. Here are some techniques for getting attention.
Pitch the right person. It amazes me that, with so much information online, reporters still say PR people target the wrong people. Check the publication’s beat lists, which is often on their websites. Or do a database search on the publication or reporter.
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 simple, “about your story on….” Can dramatically increase the chances that your email will be read.
Face it, if your subject line isn’t good enough, chances are good your pitch will not be read at all.
Pitch people over products. Show the product or service in action, helping make businesses more productive and profitable, helping doctors save lives, helping teachers educate the next generation.
Or craft a story around the product’s development. What were the problems? The challenges? The obstacles? Who was involved? Whose idea was the product?
Give reporters a plot and you’ll increase the chances they’ll “bite” on your story idea.
Begin with WIIFM. Answer the question “what’s in it for me?” in the first paragraph of the pitch. Provide the facts—the who, what, where, when—at the very beginning.
Go heavy on data. Reporters love statistics. Give them timely information from reputable sources. Bullet them in your email or pitch. That will help establish you as a source.
Avoid attachments. They will probably get stripped out anyway. Instead provide links for the reporters to get the information off your website.
Have a good online news room. Increasingly reporters rely on the online news room for their research. Make sure yours is complete, easy to search and accessible. Include high-quality, downloadable visuals.
Follow this advice and you’ll increase your odds that you’ll get the reporter’s attention…and that your story will be told.