The thought of pitching to newsrooms can be terrifying. With the increasing demand of 24-hour news and the growth of digital and online content, journalists have never been busier. They’re also constantly being pulled in different directions by organisations vying for their attention. As this all occurs on a daily basis, it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to get you and your story noticed.
The experts at Adoni Media have put together a few noteworthy tips to help get you recognised.
Focus on having a great angle
You’ve probably heard this tip time and time again, but it really is important to have a good and unique story angle that will appeal to the news organisation as well as its readers, listeners and viewers. Think of what’s relevant, interesting or unique. A good starting approach is to not send out mass media releases, instead have a targeted approach. For instance, if you have a local Brisbane story, you wouldn’t be sending it out nationally.
Sending content which isn’t relevant or suited to a news outlet will only waste yours, and a journalist’s time, creating a disadvantage for when you need to contact them next.
Have your story (and imagery together)
The increase of digital content has changed the way you should approach pitching to the media. In the past, a press release or media kit would suffice to have your story published in print, on radio or television.
Now, video news releases (VNR) or electronic press kits are the new form of communication and they can be a very effective tool. If you have the budget available, a professional can assist in putting one together.
The main benefits of a VNR is it saves the journalist (or organisation) valuable time by not having to send a crew to get the imagery, therefore making it likely for them to run your story. An ideal VNR should be approximately five minutes in duration, accompanied by background information and sent electronically.
Make it as easy as possible for the journalist
As their most valuable resource is time, journalists will be more likely to notice your story if it has background information, pictures, case studies, interviews, vision – whatever they need to make a story come to life. Supplying this information makes their job that much easier and will be very appreciated, meaning it’s more likely your story will get a run.
If pitching via email, keep the wording brief as you’ll either get, or lose, their attention in the first few lines – so make them good. As well as this, include a number, email address and contact number for the journalist to reach out if they’d like more information or to follow-up.
After all this effort, it’s also important to make sure you pitch to the appropriate person. Don’t pitch a story on politics to the celebrity reporter, for example. As newsroom staffers can change quite frequently, keep your contact list up-to-date to help make sure you’re pitching your idea to the correct person.
Utilise social media
Unsurprisingly, social media is a major factor as to why newsrooms are becoming increasingly busy. Though, these platforms can be used to your advantage – for example, contact journalists online through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter as most will have professional accounts (don’t reach out to them on their personal ones).
If you don’t receive a response straight away, you can try following up with a phone call a few hours later, or the next day if your story isn’t time sensitive. It’s imperative to make sure you don’t hound a journalist and to remember, if they’re interested you’ll hear back quickly.
If you’ve pitched a story idea or issued a media release featuring a spokesperson, ensure they’re available for interviews the day you send it out.
Never call a radio newsroom on the hour (or even half hour) – they’re frantically putting together news bulletins for air.
Consider the time of day when you’re pitching – if you issue a media release early in the morning, it’s more likely to get breakfast news coverage.
Always thank the journalist for their time, it will be beneficial for building better relationships all round.
Adoni Media is an award-winning Corporate Communications and Digital Agency where journalists and online experts help you to take control of your message to promote your business and protect your reputation.
Australian television Journalist Leisa Goddard created Adoni Media because like too many of her peers she’s spent years turning up to poorly organised media events where little to no planning has gone into basics such as selecting the right location and organising picture opportunities.