The road to media coverage begins with the right story pitch. Without a compelling pitch, you’ll have a tough time getting reporters to take note.
Initially, it can be tricky to identify the parts of your story or your work that are likely to be of the most interest to journalists and their audiences – but, practice makes perfect.
Try to schedule regular brainstorming sessions with your team. The more you do this, the easier it’ll become. Try, also, to step outside of your role within your organization, and think like an outsider. Why would somebody not associated with your company care about what you’re doing?
Use the questions below to kickstart your next PR pitch brainstorm, and you’ll be well on your way to generating highly valuable media coverage.
1. What headline would you like to see written about your company?
Think about a headline you’d love to see written about your company, and work backwards from there.
What about your company would lead to such a headline? Craft your story pitch around this line of thinking.
2. Are there any holidays, seasonal events, or cultural happenings that tie into your business?
The media loves to cover a big holiday or event. Each November, for example, there’s an abundance of coverage about Thanksgiving travel plans, turkey recipes, etc.
Think about the ways your organization connects to large-scale holidays or events, and develop pitches around these moments in our national calendar.
3. How are your competitors being covered by the media?
Read up on your competitors. How is the media covering them? What aspects of their business, or which of their projects, are receiving the most coverage?
Don’t aim to duplicate your competitors’ media coverage; rather, see if the coverage they’re receiving gives you any new insights about what aspects of your work or industry are most interesting to reporters.
4. How does your business connect to the news of the day?
Keep up with the news, and think about how your organization fits into whatever is happening in the world, your target market, and / or your industry.
5. What trends or changes do you see ahead for your industry?
Forward-looking trend topics are often of interest to the media, particularly towards the end of the year when everyone is beginning to think about what the coming calendar will look like.
If you have something insightful to add to the conversation about what’s to come for your industry, offer yourself to the media as an expert in your space.
6. Why should a reporter – or their audience – care about your company?
It’s easy for those closest to an organization to think the media should be knocking down your doors to write about you – but try to step away and think like an outsider.
Why would a reporter’s audience really care about you and what you do? How can you serve the media’s key audience? If you weren’t a member of your company, what would you find the most interesting about it?
If it’s helpful, ask friends or family members – who aren’t associated with your work – for their input, too.
7. What types of stories do your target media outlets or reporters typically cover?
Get to know the outlets and reporters you plan to target with your media outreach. What types of stories do they tend to cover? How can your expertise or your work fit into their typical coverage areas?
8. Do you have anything newsworthy to announce?
If your organization has an announcement to make, you can develop a series of story pitches around the news.
Use a press release for your formal announcement, but follow up with story pitches focused on different aspects of the news.
9. Is there anything particularly impressive about your organization’s numbers? (i.e. sales numbers, clients, customers, years in business, etc.)
We’ve all seen headlines like this: “How This Entrepreneur Sold 5,000,000 Products Overnight”. These flashy headlines – which rely on big numbers and hard-to-achieve results – are designed to grab a reader’s attention quickly.
Take a look at your own organization’s numbers. Is there anything that really stands out?
A version of this post first appeared on the 418 Communications blog.