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Pitch Checklist: 5 Tips for Getting Your Story Noticed By the Press

Posted September 13, 2017

Anna Julow Roolf

Director of Strategic Initiatives at BLASTmedia

Crafting a pitch that can successfully garner media attention takes an investment. You’ve likely invested time and energy getting buy-in from stakeholders, crafting your next announcement and discussing current industry trends with thought leaders to identify a compelling story.

Why would you invest all that time only to shoot off a weak pitch that falls flat with the media? Before you draft your email pitch or pick up the phone to talk to the media, make sure you’ve considered these five pitching tips:

Do your research.

This not only includes research to round out and provide support to your story, but also the members of the media you’re planning to contact. One way to find right press contact is by looking at who has written about similar topics in the past. Try going to your target outlet and searching for specific keywords to see who writes about that topic. For example, if you’d like to have CNET cover your story about cybersecurity, consider visiting cnet.com and searching “cybersecurity” to find out who has written about cybersecurity recently and/or frequently. (Hint: In this case, Alfred Ng would be good contact to try.) From there, address your pitch to that journalist specifically — “dear editor” is impersonal and likely to fall on deaf ears. Keep in mind, even a great story won’t succeed if it doesn’t get in front of the right press contact.

Keep timeliness in mind. 

Timeliness can make or break a story. Understanding what journalists are talking about and when, then matching your story to that timetable, improves your chances of securing coverage. This includes paying attention to both seasonal topics and current events where you may want to insert yourself into the conversation, as well as those same kind of topics that may preoccupy a journalist (world crises, major brand announcement, etc.), causing them to bypass your pitch.

Have a unique story.  

Before making outreach to media, look into who may have covered a story similar to yours in the past and make sure you can provide a new take. Searching Google News for related keywords is one easy way to see what media outlets may have covered the topic recently. Even if the general topic has been covered before, it doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your pitch – it means you have an opportunity to take a unique or contrarian perspective. Bonus: Having a general topic covered in past may mean you just found another possible press contact!

Secure assets and approvals. 

“Do I have what I need to be a full resource to the media?” This could include assets like images and bios, as well as the availability of spokespeople for interviews. Once a member of the media is interested in your story, it’s best to have as many assets and answers on hand as possible, so you can respond quickly.

Consider the reader. 

Journalists want to publish stories that their audience will read and share. Put yourself in the position of the media and before sending any pitch, ask yourself, “Why would the reader care? What will the audience gain from the story?” Your story should offer advice or stir emotions  — it shouldn’t just be focused on your company news.

Attracting attention of the media takes both a compelling story and the right approach. Still struggling with identifying compelling stories to share with the media? Download our Guide to Storytelling ebook to learn more about how you can develop stories that allow you to earn media coverage without a press release.

Think you’re ready to get started with media relations? Download our Guide to Storytelling to learn how you can earn press coverage without a press release.

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Anna Julow Roolf

Director of Strategic Initiatives at BLASTmedia

As the director of strategic initiatives at BLASTmedia, Anna draws from her account management, media relations and digital experience to help provide more seamless onboarding for clients and employees. Although she enjoys the written word, she's known around the office for her tendency to organize and explain ideas using spreadsheets and sketches.

These articles have been curated by our friends at BLASTmedia, a national PR agency focusing on media relations for B2B technology companies.

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