Newsrooms are turning stories out quicker than ever before. Assignment editors decide in a flash whether they’ll cover a topic or they won’t. Reporters cover multiple beats. So how do we make our clients’ stories cut through the clutter?
So how do we do it? Landing a story takes more than sending out an email of good information. Here’s what we keep in mind when going after that feature.
Tell the Story: It’s not enough to get our clients and their products or services in front of editors’ eyes. We know that you have to tell reporters the story they’d want to tell their audiences. Pitching TV? We set the stage to create a visual of what a story featuring our client may look like. We suggest interviews, stats, shots, props – all to make our story something they can envision on their station.
Talk to the Right Person: If we were pitching an editor every time we had a story idea, we wouldn’t be doing our job. That’s why we always do our research. We look at who’s covering the topics we’re pitching. Yes, some editors will pass story ideas along to the right reporter. But why create a middle man when you can go straight to the source?
Be Persistent: We’re not stalking reporters until they agree to cover our clients for fear of their lives, but one email doesn’t always do the trick. So we talk to reporters and see if our client may be a fit for a future story. Just because this angle wasn’t a fit right now, doesn’t mean we can’t try again with a new story angle in the future.
Be Respectful: I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep my clients top-of-mind is to abide by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you’d have others do unto you. Journalists have a job to get done, just like we do in PR. If a reporter is on deadline, I don’t keep him on the phone. I always try to be respectful of that person’s schedule and never forget to say “thank you” for a job well-done in covering my client. A little courtesy goes a long way when it has reporters coming back to us again and again.