Landing coverage for a topical article, product announcement or upcoming event can depend on several factors, including how newsworthy the story is and if it’s a good fit for a specific publication. Before pitching, PR pros thoroughly research and find relevant media contacts they believe would want to cover the story. However, even when something seems like a perfect match, another story could come along and steal the spotlight, or the journalist could simply decide to pass.
Media coverage helps your brand catapult its messaging in front of larger audiences, which in turn enables you to generate awareness, leads and sales. To secure media coverage, it’s necessary to put on your thinking cap and brainstorm creative PR pitches that will help you garner interest.
Consider the following approaches to landing media coverage:
Besides the obvious angle, ask yourself: how can this story reach different audiences? If the story could be relevant to a local city or community, industry or a current trend, don’t be afraid to try it out. Restructure the pitch to fit different audiences to show a journalist why this story is the perfect fit for them. Perhaps you’ve conducted a Harris Poll that has revealed interesting insights regarding Americans’ concerns on a specific topic. You may be able to highlight the varying opinions of people within different age groups, genders or education levels in your pitch.
Generally, editors and producers are the best people to contact about a potential story, as they are in charge of assigning stories and developing the structure of a newspaper, magazine, television segment or radio show. However, these contacts are often the busiest, which means your chance of getting their attention and a response could be low. Instead, try reaching out to reporters who have covered similar stories in the past, or even assistant editors and producers who are still involved in making decisions about stories. Once you make a new contact, make sure to keep their information on file and establish a professional relationship to help you secure coverage in the future.
Journalists are bombarded with potential news stories every day, and your pitch could easily be buried under a mountain of emails. To help yours stand out and gain a better chance at landing coverage, make sure to use an eye-catching headline. Within the pitch, offer the journalist compelling reasons on why this story is important, provide a local or relevant spin or offer unique value, such as behind-the-scenes photos or an exclusive video that can accompany the story.
If something isn’t gaining coverage, it could be because it isn’t particularly relevant for that journalist or publication. In today’s fast-paced digital world, there’s a ton of content and data with overlapping research and statistics. To help your story stand out, consider conducting your own research through the Harris Poll or similar survey. Then, promote the findings alongside your news to enhance your credibility and highlight the relevance of the topic at hand. Don’t have the budget for your own research? Do a bit of digging to find statistics from reliable sources that further bolster your pitch.
If you’ve covered similar news in the past, consider repurposing old content with a new, trendy spin. This not only saves you time, but allows past content that didn’t get enough coverage the first time around another shot. Offer up best practices that are still relevant, research you’ve conducted in the last year or two or an infographic that highlights an important issue.
Today, many companies are gaining coverage from simply replying to customers on social media with a personal note and a cheeky attitude. Consider the greatness that is Wendy’s approach to social media. The fast food giant is consistently making a splash on Twitter and other platforms by engaging with customers and even other brands.
If it works for your brand, consider stepping up your social media personality and engagement. Even if a response doesn’t go viral, having a strong and reliable online presence increases the number of followers and their engagement, thus landing you more coverage.
Simply pitching a story, product or announcement as is may not get you the coverage you’re seeking. Making a story front-page worthy is all about finding the right angle for the journalist and publication at hand. Don’t be afraid to put on your creative cap and pitch with passion. Taking the time to rethink the way you pitch can go a long way in scoring quality coverage for your brand.
Looking for media pitching support outside of your organization? Contact Mulberry to learn how we can help with your media relations strategy.
Alex Weiss is a Senior Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She combines her creative writing background and B2B experience to bring client campaigns to life.