A media pitch is written to get specific media coverage from a reporter. It is written and geared in a story format. It is often tied to a news story. I recommend a two paragraph media pitch. The first paragraph should list the issue or news story, as well as, critical questions that should be asked or addressed by the reporter. The second paragraph should include your expertise in being able to address those questions, as well as, how you would answer the questions. You want the pitch written concisely, with a good soundbite in your answer. With media cutbacks, reporters and producers love pitches that are written as a news story that they can incorporate into their story and the interview with you. Media pitches generate the hard media coverage and interviews that brands, authors, and celebrities crave in a public relations campaign.
Media relations are a key component of public relations. Companies want positive media coverage to assist them in reaching their target audience. Every CEO believes that they have a story that is newsworthy that will bring them coverage and assist in marketing. Regardless of whether it is business to consumer or business to business, companies want media coverage.
In public relations we hear all the time from clients and potential clients, can you get us in the news? The answer usually is yes we can, if you have a compelling story that will stand out. Today, news coverage is more competitive than ever before despite the opportunities the 24/7 news cycle provides.
What does it take to get news coverage?
Here are the elements for great media pitches and press releases:
- New – Your company should have something current and fresh to share with your target audiences. Do you have a new product launch, a new spin on an old way of doing something, or a late-breaking development?
- Timely – Make sure your news is presented to the media in a timely manner. For example, if your company reduced its carbon footprint this year, holding that information until closer to Earth Day (April 21) will give the story relevancy and timeliness; or closer to the season if you work in eCommerce doing stories on holiday sales online is timely starting in November.
- Local – The rise of hyperlocal news has made this element more important than ever. Your story should be relevant to your locale; and remember, even national media outlets like to see how a piece of news impacts a particular community.
- Human Interest – You might have a great piece of news, but you’ll increase your chances of coverage if you can put a human face to the story. For example, we represented an author once who after a near fatal accident gave up her high profile Wall Street career to pursue her dream of writing believing that the accident was a sign.
- Conflict/Controversy – This component often needs some finessing, but if done right, you can position your piece of news as a long-fought victory or a beat-the-odds scenario.
- Odd – That’s right, an unusual piece of news often makes headlines. Does your organization do something out-of-the-ordinary or quirky?
In today’s increasingly social world, I would add the following component:
- Shareable – Your news must be worthy enough to be shared on social media platforms. At least six in 10 Americans consume news via the internet; moreover. Indeed more people claim today they get their news via the internet or Facebook than traditional media source. Indeed, Pew reported that 44% of consumers like to read news that is “shareable.” Indeed many companies that become overnight successes credit their success to the fact that their news story was shared on the internet.
News coverage can be obtained if we keep these basic elements in mind. These elements not only help our clients get the coverage they seek but also makes the reporter’s job easier meaning your relationship with them is strengthened and media relations, good relationships with reporters makes or breaks the coverage your client gets.