How to Get the Media to Cover Your Story
Whether you are a businessman trying to get your brand wider recognition, or an activist fighting for a social cause, getting the media to cover your story can help you reach a bigger audience and make a more significant impact. But, preparing the perfect pitch to grab the attention of journalists can be a daunting task.
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On average, a journalist spends only a few seconds assessing a press release. These few seconds determine the fate of your story and whether or not it will get the coverage it deserves. A few small details can help your story stand out and make the cut. But, how do you make sure that your story ends up in the right pile? Read on to find out more on how to get the media to cover your story.
Know Your Target Audience
You need to understand that you are pitching your story to a journalist and not a consumer. The content of your pitch should thus be factual and to the point. It should not be spun around. That said, you also need to target the right journalists. Journalists would cover your story only if it is in line with their interests and professional domain. Sharing your story on a local social issue with a sports journalist would get you nowhere. Pitching your story to the right journalists and media houses will make sure that your story gets the right amount of attention and trickles down to their consumers.
Select the Right Mode of Communication
The best way to pitch your story is through an email that is addressed directly to the journalist and not to the department, or the media house. An email allows journalists to go through your story as per their convenience. On the other hand, pitching your story to a journalist via a phone call or social media messages would be inadvisable and unprofessional. A face to face meeting, on the other hand, can work wonders.
Get the Headline Right
The first aspect of your story that a journalist sees is its headline. But when through an email, the subject also becomes extremely important. Given that journalists have to scan through a large number of pitches, an attention-grabbing headline or subject can make a huge difference. The headline or subject should be catchy, relevant, and not too long. At the same time, exaggeration should be avoided.
Formatting Your Pitch
Needless to say, your pitch should not have any errors, grammatical, or typos. Such mistakes appear unprofessional, indicate a lack of effort, and reflect poorly on the story, causing the journalist to lose interest. Your pitch must be well formatted. It should have a smooth flow and should be skim friendly. Your pitch should cover the Five W’s, these include: who, what, when, where, and why. The introduction of your pitch should give the reader just enough information to clearly understand what the story is about.
Be Accessible and Available
When you present your story, you should provide your contact details. If you are not the public relations executive of your firm, you should include their contact details as well. Journalists have to meet tight deadlines. Being accessible to provide any additional information that may be required by the journalist is crucial. Quite often stories get canned because journalists do not receive follow-up responses in time. You can also provide your social media contact information in addition to your official contact details.
Understanding Press Releases
A press release is a document containing information that one wishes to share with journalists, media, or the public. Such documents are often released by companies launching new products or services. Properly framed press releases can help you attract the attention of journalists. However, press releases may be difficult to prepare. If you run a business, no matter its size, it may be a good idea to seek the assistance of professionals. You can also check out this block post Press Release Client Reviews: Learn How Customers Succeed where the essentials of good press reviews have been encapsulated and listed. It will assist you in framing attention-grabbing, informational press releases.
Diversify Your Channels
Good press releases don’t just help spread information, but also ensure improvement in search engine optimization through standardized boilerplates. Spread your story through big, small, and local media houses. These include platforms like print media, television, and radio. If your story is relevant to the local community, you will have a better shot of getting the local media to cover it rather than regional or metropolitan media houses. If the news is relevant only to a limited area, try leaflets; effective and economical.
Journalists can receive hundreds of emails in a day, a large number of which contain stories that are of interest to them. As such, it is easy for a journalist to miss out on your story. Following up with the journalists can help in getting their attention. However, you need to make sure that you follow up at the right time and in the right way. You should avoid sending your pitch or a follow up on weekends or public holidays. Emails on such days are likely to be overlooked. Further, you should give the journalist ample time to go through your story before you follow up with them. You should at least wait for two to three days. Nudging them repeatedly could irritate them.
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While following up regarding your story, you should continue your conversation in the same email thread, rather than creating a new one to avoid confusion. However, if a journalist does not reply or show interest in your story despite your follow up communication, the journalist is probably not interested in your story and your efforts would be better rewarded by taking your story to another.
Don’t Underestimate Social Media
Often underestimated, social media is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when you need to spread information about your business or need your story heard. It is completely free and has a wide reach. If you are unable to have your story published, social media can be a good alternative to have it heard.
Getting the media to cover your story requires you to identify the correct channels and prepare a compelling pitch. This can be time-consuming, but it is well worth the extra effort. Getting media attention can help further your cause, whether it is to spread awareness regarding your brand or garner support for a social issue.