So, you have a story of great value to share with a broader audience. You know that getting the attention of an established journalist will catapult your story to readers, viewers, and listeners across the nation, or perhaps around the world.
A quick search on Google will give you lists upon lists of tips on the matter. For something a little different, have a look at this simple three-step walkthrough...
1) Prepare for the long-haul and organize your approach.
I can understand the need to bring a story you feel impassioned or inspired about to a larger audience. It's normal to have a sense of urgency, and more often than not, you'll find yourself disappointed when your pitch fades out from relevance or is simply ignored.
It's not easy, but it takes patience and practice.
You will need to adopt a broader and more adaptable approach, and integrate yourself into a multifaceted process that will build your rapport with other journalists and make you a credible source.
Your ultimate goal is to build value as a source before you can market and sell your stories reliably over the long-term.
2) Reach out AND MAke use of all Available resources
Your venture must start by proliferation. Expand and establish yourself as a credible and reliable source.
I highly recommend signing up to any number of online source-to-journalist resources and databases. These sites, many of which offer free signup, will allow you to connect with journalists who are in need of sources on any number of topics.
I suggest checking out these popular choices:
These sites will allow you to build an online profile and submit pitches which are filtered categorically and matched to queries submitted by journalists. You can also receive notifications on leads put out by different media outlets, and have them filtered to your field of expertise.
While pitch and query sites are an invaluable tool to pitching reporters, the careful use of social media can be an invaluable tool to supplement and bolster your credibility.
The trick is not to use social media to pitch, but instead to use it as a tool to build relationships with journalists. Subscribe and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, and message boards. Find journalists that cover your field of interests and expertise. Read up on what they're writing about, and join in on the conversation.
Many news sites and blogs integrate discussion and comments into their sites. Incorporate your social media profile to contribute to meaningful discussion.
You can use AllMyTweets to keep track of topics that a journalist may like or dislike.
Make sure to use social media ads and even a pay-per-click ad campaign if needed to influence targeted media outlets. This will establish a presence for your company.
Cover events and report on them, and make sure to connect them back to relevant discussions. Tweet, re-Tweet, hashtag, and @ddress other users and journalists intelligently.
While not necessarily a direct way to pitch, you are building a sense of credibility, and most importantly, you are reaching out to a very accessible audience.
Journalists will take note of this, and having built that familiarity with them will set you apart when you're ready to pitch directly to them.
And don't be afraid to advertise it! Include your previous work in a 'Media' section on your page, to show them that you've done this before.
3) Initiate dialogue, build a rapport and finalize your press release
So you've gotten a lead off of a query site, or you've built a rapport with a journalist through social media, and you feel ready to contact them with your pitch.
Here's a breakdown of how to improve your pitches, and things to absolutely avoid:
It may take a while before you get your first breakthrough. You may even get a strong lead that never follows through. The key is to keep trying. Journalists value persistence.
They may read your pitch without responding. Sometimes the story might not be right for the current news cycle, and it's simply impossible to cover every interesting pitch that comes their way. As long as you keep trying, you are leaving an impression. If they don't run your story, they may still give it mention in a roundup or another article related to your story.
Keep an eye out for my next article discussing the do's and don'ts of writing a press release.
Until then, keep on pitching.
Omar is a staff writer for CustomContentFactory.com with speciality in PR, engineering and technical topics.