Everyone wants media coverage, but with inboxes filling up faster than ever and news being shouted from every platform, sometimes it can feel impossible to get noticed by the media. It’s not enough to just distribute a press release over the wire. According to Oberlo, in 2020, the number of small businesses in the U.S. reached 31.7 million, making up nearly 99.9% of U.S. businesses. If you take into account the fact there are less than 33,000 full-time journalists in the U.S., it’s no surprise the competition for their attention is fierce.
Luckily, at UPRAISE, we’ve found some tried and true tips for capturing a reporter’s attention and landing the story, including:
1. Know the Journalist and Their Audience
The quickest way to get your pitch deleted is to send a story about farming to a journalist that writes about construction. No matter how interesting your pitch is, if the journalist doesn’t think the content is relevant to their audience, they won’t bother writing about it.
2. Personalize the Pitch
Closely linked to tip one, journalists know when they’ve been sent a generic email blast and they will respond in kind. It’s best to create a smaller list and create highly targeted pitches that make it clear you know what they write about and you have news that is compelling enough for them to want to know more. Don’t believe me? Search #PRFail on Twitter and then make sure one of your pitches never earns that hashtag.
3. Identify its Newsworthiness
If you took a journalism class in college, you would have learned about one of the most tried and true determinants for whether a story gets covered or not is its newsworthiness. You can visit Purdue’s website to learn more about these in depth, but they include: proximity, timeliness, unexpectedness, or human interest. Make sure your pitch clearly defines the newsworthiness value in order to increase the chance of a journalist being interested.
4. Structure Your Pitch in a Way That is Readable
Nothing scares off a reader faster than a large block of text. Make sure your pitch is clear, concise and easy to absorb quickly. Journalists are working understaffed and on a deadline, so it’s best to get to the point, while driving home the newsworthiness of your story and why it will interest readers. Don’t forget a call to action so the journalist knows exactly what you want them to do with the information you’ve provided.
5. Timing is Everything
As noted in tip four, journalists are understaffed and often have tight timelines to get a story published. Don’t send a pitch the day you want the story written as it’s most likely the journalist will already have other deadlines they need to meet. It’s much better to give at least a couple of weeks lead time by offering the pitch under embargo, that way the journalist has time to research your story and to write it before their editor needs to review and ultimately publish it.
Pitching can feel daunting and you’ll strike out more often than not if you don’t understand how to communicate with journalists. If you need help with your media relations execution, contact UPRAISE today at firstname.lastname@example.org.