5 Insider Tips for Generating Media Exposure

Prior to PR I spent 12 years as a TV news reporter and pitches filled my inbox every morning. Most were unusable. Here are five tips to improve the chances of journalists bringing your pitch to their morning story meeting:

1Think and act like a journalist so you can serve journalists

A journalist’s day starts with a morning news meeting, but before that reporters prep by reading online news and listening to (and watching) morning news to see what’s leading the agenda on that news day.

A PR pro should emulate that routine and think about how they can serve that journalist with content and sources to help them do their jobs. Ask yourself: “how can my client, their product, or expert opinion be of use to journalists today related to x,y,z stories that are important in today’s news cycle?”

2Anticipate

Anticipate what’s coming up in the news cycle related to journalists’ specific media beats, and the day before, pitch a timely embargoed press release and story idea so it’s in their hands when they need it most – before their morning story meeting.

3Research and Reference Story History

A great way to catch a reporter’s attention in an email subject line is to say Your Story about XYZ. Reporters often open this because they want to see if it’s feedback about their report, plus they know you’re not spamming all reporters with the same pitch. In the pitch, reference one of their stories about a client competitor, or an issue your client has a solution for, or an opinion about. Suggest a timely specific story theme and a reason to cover this topic again – ideally something new your client is doing or saying that adds an original angle to the story.

4Offer Ideas and Expert Source

All day reporters will be asked by PR people to help their client by covering their story. What stands out, and helps to build a relationship, is to offer to serve the journalist with or without a story for your client. Share a useful link related to that reporter’s subject matter as a story idea even if it isn’t a client story and, offer your client as an expert source “just for background to help them get context about a topic” with no condition of your client being included in a report. More often than not, these helpful offers will put your client at the front of the line when a source is needed.

5Keep Your Credibility High by Only Pitching When Warranted

When every pitch you make is timely, topical, newsy and relevant geographically (to that journalist’s audience), reporters will keep responding to your pitches. As soon as you breach that trust with a pitch that obviously can’t be covered, your credibility is lost. Keep it relevant to keep the communication channels open.

Colin Trethewey, APR
PR MediaNow, Sr. Partner

www.prmedianow.com

About the author Colin Trethewey: Before co-founding PRmediaNow, Colin was a technology correspondent for CTV news and he hosted a weekly TV show called Tech Now – part of a 12 year journalism career as a news, business and technology anchor and reporter.
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