5 ways you can craft pitches to pique journalists’ interest

As seen on Ragan.com

Your client wants media coverage; that’s standard. It’s your job to devise nonstandard ways of motivating reporters, editors and producers to put your story out there. Here’s how.

“What types of stories can you get me in X publication?”

Our agency gets that question a lot. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, certain story angles have been proven to pique reporters’ attention—assuming you are pitching the right content to the right reporter, editor or producer.

Those winning PR angles include:

Exclusives

What reporter doesn’t want to break coveted news in his or her market? Being given the first chance to tell a story is of high value to any journalist. If you find the right publication to pitch, it can have a significant impact on the client’s business/mission.

To warrant an exclusive, your story must have high news value and relevance to the news outlet’s readers, viewers or listeners. When you have that confluence of factors, it’s time to pitch the top of your A list.

Trend pieces

Trend pieces come in a few shapes and sizes, the two most common being one that exemplifies a trend and one that defies a trend. The point/counterpoint version is an option, so long as the organization’s risk tolerance allows for that format.

Regardless of which model you choose, you must have proof points-both statistical and anecdotal-to illustrate your story.

Let’s say you work for a real estate brokerage and want to speak about the demand for office space in a certain market. Provide data on the supply/demand correlation, and offer clients/contacts to provide relevant anecdotes. These will frame your story and give the reporter substantial information to work with.

Local perspectives on national news

Although national news—such as federal unemployment/job growth data—has broad implications, what matters to residents of a specific area is the impact in their own backyard.

For example, if a study shows corporate giving is highest in a particular region of the U.S. while millennial philanthropy is thriving in a handful of urban markets, a nonprofit could garner media coverage by providing a local perspective on the national data.

Impact pieces

To gain editorial coverage, your pitch must be relevant and meaningful to the media outlet’s audience. Linking cause and effect is essential.

Let’s say a large manufacturer plans to locate a plant in your state. There are several potential story angles—job growth, the environment and traffic, among others. It’s all about packaging.

Stories with personal connections

Journalists have passions and interests outside their careers: They are alumni, parents and pet owners, among other things.

Does your pitch include a personal connection to pique the reporter’s interest and yield an in-depth story?

Crafting a perfect pitch and targeting it to the right reporter require research, creativity and persistence. For organizations that invest in ongoing public relations programs, carefully crafted news stories help to increase share of voice, enhance expert positioning and generate media coverage, which in turn can propel email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.

A version of this article originally appeared on Co-Communications.