Pitching Your Story to the Media
There's No Perfect Pitch in Public Relations
ORLANDO, Fla -- I've said it before and I'll double down to say it again, there is no such thing as a perfect pitch. If someone told you that, it's a lie!
Have you paid for a template and are still struggling with what to say and how to say it?
You wasted your money.
If you're like a lot of my busy and overwhelmed business owners, you've spent countless hours trying to fine-tune your message before sending it out to a journalist you don't even know. Am I right?
Maybe you finally sent the story idea to the producer of your dream show, but they never got back to you. Did they even see it?
Don't fall for templates and step-by-step methods made up by people who haven't worked a day in a newsroom. There's a difference between public relations professionals and the journalists whose feet pounded the pavement on stories in your community.
Here's an upside to the template you might have paid for.
There is something to catching a reporter or producer's eye off the bat and even sending supporting facts (with links!) so the journalists do not have to figure out where all of your information came from.
But, there's always more to the story, right?
Hey! I'm not trying to be a jerk, just shooting straight. I've been a reporter and producer for television newsrooms across the country for more than 10 years. Today, I still freelance for local and network programs.
And in all my time, not once have I seen a template or a pitch and thought "I'm not going to read this, the template is all wrong!"
A good story is simply a good story.
If you have one, you can get in the news FOR FREE.
Yep, zero dollars, completely organic content shared with millions.
So, to help all of you entrepreneurs, boss ladies, business owners, and hustlers, I've put together a couple (seven actually) elements news managers require and actually use to rate how a potential story will impact viewers.
There is a method to all this madness! Hallelujah!
The closer you follow these guidelines, the better your chances are to get coverage for whatever story you are pitching. Even reporters and producers get graded on these different elements when they pitch their ideas during the daily editorial meetings. Not at every station, but definitely a handful of the places I've worked.
Think I'm pulling a fast one? This is the exact model previous stations I worked for used in order to see how many enterprise stories each reporter was producing a week.
➡️ ➡️ Plus, you'll have to check out what reporters are saying NOT to do below these guidelines.
The Seven Elements to an Impactful News Story
When did your story take place?
People turn on their TVs, computers, open their Safari app on their iPhones, because they want to see what is happening today. Think about it. People want to know what traffic looks like on the way to work, if it will be nice out today or this weekend. If it happened yesterday, it's old news unless you can spruce it up to make it relevant to today.
Who Does This Effect?
Have you ever turned on the TV to see something on your street wasn't covered? I get asked all the time why suicide isn't a reportable event. The hard fact of the matter is, it doesn't affect a large number of people. At the end of the day, for-profit news organizations are making money. So, if their product doesn't impact a decent amount of viewers, bringing in the most eyeballs possible, it just doesn't get coverage. Yeah, yeah, I know. I hate this too.
Where Did The Story Happen?
Circling back to the previous element, if the story isn't necessarily local to the people who have the potential to watch the story, then the news station is not going to spend its time and money trying to cover it. There are exceptions, like mass shootings in other areas of the country, travel-related stories, and emotional stories anyone can relate to.
Safety & Security
Florida Man/News of the weird