Pitching a Story to the Media

How do you create media interest in your business? You offer a great product or service, and you have a website that contains relevant content and special offers – maybe you also have a Facebook page and you are active on Twitter. That is all great but when it comes to the media, you must present your story idea because they likely won’t come knocking on your door.

There are hundreds of press releases, media alerts and phone inquiries each day that flow into a news room or editor’s office. How do you intend to stand out and get noticed?

Helpful Tips:

A reporter or editor does not want to have to read between the lines to figure out what your story is. Do not fill your inquiry or press release with industry jargon. Though your intention may be to impress with your knowledge, that will not get you noticed.

Is your story idea unique and compelling? You must find a way to make your idea stand out in the first paragraph. Does it create curiosity? If not, you may want to re-arrange your ideas to make it more interesting.

Before you hit the first key in typing your press release or inquiry to the editor, be sure you research the following:

1. Who is the person you are sending it to? Is it the right person to reach out to?

2. How do they prefer to be contacted?

3. What is their writing style?

4. What have they written in the past? Is your idea relevant?

5. Does the writer have an editorial calendar and blog you can review?

6. What should the length and format of your piece be?

Doing your research prior to submitting something to a media person will help you to develop and maintain positive relationships with them. Do not send your information to  media contacts without an introduction and be sure to follow the tips above.

If you are struggling with how to make your story ideas stand out, check out the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath at www.heathbrothers.com  It is an excellent way to sharpen your writing skills and will help you to create ideas that “stick.” 

Good luck!


About Melissa Cleveland

I have been writing for public relations and advertising for over 12 years. I have worked as a marketing specialist, PR manager, media relations manager, field marketing rep. and most recently started my own business as a writer and marketing consultant.
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2 Responses to Pitching a Story to the Media

  1. Mark Ragan says:

    Great tips, Melissa. I am always struck by the dearth of well-written press releases. And the poorly written ones contain all of the horrible elements you warn against: jargon, corporate speak and long, unwieldy quotes.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mark. I always try to put myself in the shoes of the editor, journalist or reporter who has to read what I submit. If I don’t find it the least bit interesting, how can I expect anyone else to?

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