There are a lot of skills public relations pros can learn from journalists. One key takeaway is incorporating human interest in your story. That personal touch can go a long way. Reporters don’t have it easy—they need to get their story approved by their editor before it can be published. So they’re also in the business of pitching. And knowing how to pitch makes a huge difference.
Here are some journalism tactics you can use to increase the success of your pitch:
Go beyond the ABCs
Of course, you’ll have the answers to the who, what, where, when, why and how when it comes to what you’re pitching. While all this information is important and extremely relevant, a good pitch is bolstered by the knowledge of additional details. Give your pitch some life by going beyond the basic details to weave an interesting story.
Say you want to tell your reporter about an upcoming documentary screening. You’ll obviously let the reporter know the key details, such as what the documentary is about, and when and where the screening will take place. The key is to go a step further, provide an interesting backstory of the documentary maker, or some fun fact that could add to the charm.
Put all the details in context
You’ll send an email or call the reporter to pitch your story. But, keep in the back of your mind that you’re not the only one. Reporters receive a barrage of releases each week. How quickly and how effortlessly they can write the piece can be a crucial determinant of what pitches they select. Therefore, it’s important to provide details – make sure you explain how the detail of how everything fits into the story. Don’t leave aspects of your story for your reporter to discover.
Make sure your pitch is relevant to trends and daily news
Find trends and news stories related to your story. Keeping your story relevant to current events and trends will be more successful in catching your reporter’s attention. Don’t leave them guessing about how it relates to current events, explain to them clearly why the story matters in the context of now.
For example, if the documentary is about post-service trauma in military personnel, then tie it into local statistics about ex-military personnel. Set up Google alerts for news that could pertain to your brand and service to find opportunities to strategically piggy back on stories that would have a high interest.
Provide facts and statistics to authenticate your story
Don’t make claims without using facts and statistics. This is important now more than ever, with journalists and media outlets worried about ‘fake news’ and the high-level scrutiny of media reports. Cite reputable sources to support your pitch. Using relevant facts and statistics increases your credibility and provides media outlets with more confidence in your pitch. Thought leaders are also a great way to get more traction. But if you are going to refer to your client as a thought leader, then make sure you mention his or her editorial contributions, and appearances in round tables, industry events and conferences.