Getting effective press coverage isn’t difficult if you understand how to get the attention of the right journalists. It’s no different from marketing your business to your audience. Know your audience, understand their needs, and then deliver the solution to them. The right journalist has a need (a compelling story to share), and you can give them that. You just need to know how to get them to share your story.
If you have a relevant story to share that relates to any national news, don’t wait for one second to pitch your story to a local journalist. They love telling the story of local people when it relates to national news stories. And what’s even better is that the AP could pick up your story since that topic is national news.
Don’t Waste Their Time
If you can’t relate your story to something that’s important to that particular reporter, don’t bother. Take the time to find just the right reporter who needs a story like yours. There are different reporters for each topic, and if one writes about school issues they don’t care about your work-from-home story.
Don’t exaggerate your story or try to blow smoke. Don’t even use marketing buzzwords in your story either. Instead, be completely honest and above reproach. You don’t want the reporter to decide that your story is false or that you’re some sort of scammer so that they do a bad story about you. Ensure that anything you say can be backed up with proof. Even if something is true but you have no proof, it can be a fine line.
Make a Personal Connection
It helps if you work on your personal connection with reporters and journalists. For example, offer to be the go-to expert on your niche and topic of interest. Letting them know you’ll give quotes and be the expert for them to interview on the topics they cover will help you get your story out.
When you pitch your story, don’t make the initial contact too long. Give enough information so they can contact you for additional information if it’s of interest to them. More than 300 to 500 words and they’re going to get bored. They might even get turned off. Ensure that you show the connection to their needs within your initial contact.
Make It Easy
Don’t make it difficult for the reporter to get the story. Put good information for the media on your website so that they can look at that before they contact you for further information. Make the connection for them to the national news story and even to other stories they may have done.
Provide Accurate Contact Information
Don’t rely on them hitting “reply” to your email to contact you. Instead, ensure that your signature line has various ways to contact you that are easy. Then, ensure that you’re available. If you do have some times that are bad, say so in your initial email.
Answer Any Questions in a Timely Manner
If the journalist contacts you, don’t delay on answering them. The faster you are at answering their questions, the more likely they are to want to work with you further. They are busy people and need the utmost co-operation to make it work.
Finally, once you pitch your story you should be ready to go within the hour if necessary. Sometimes journalists need to get the story out fast depending on the topic, and if you’re going to pitch it, be ready to follow through.