Media relations can set your company apart from others in your space. It can help you sell your story, products and services. A key step in media relations is crafting story ideas and pitching them to journalists.
Criteria for getting a journalist to be interested in a pitch can vary, but one thing remains constant: the pitch must be newsworthy. Unless whatever you’re hoping to pitch also relates to celebrities or political figures, you are likely going to have to work at being newsworthy.
What makes something newsworthy? It can mean many different things to many different people, and it varies greatly depending on what type of information you’re pitching and who you’re expecting to review that information. To ensure that the stories you or your PR team pitch are considered newsworthy, make sure to consider these five factors:
- Timeliness – Is the content you are pitching new, or can it be related to something currently happening in the news? This is essential. No one likes old news. Always be aware of what’s going on in local, national and any trade news that pertains to your company.
- Impact – Think of it like this: “how will this affect the readers’ lives?’ The impact of the story quickly establishes the importance of the story. If the stock market is crashing, those with investments will be especially interested in details of this news. Those with no investments or relations to the stock market will not feel impact, and this story will not be as important to them.
- Proximity – Think about the location of the target outlet. You wouldn’t pitch a story about an event taking place in Florida to a local news organization in Oklahoma because their audience, primary residents of Oklahoma, wouldn’t be interested in hearing about something completely unrelated to their daily lives. But, if it’s possible to tie the story into something happening locally and make it relevant to residents in Oklahoma, it would be worth pitching. Events that occur locally or have a local tie will always have more significance.
- Prominence – Famous people are in the news so often because they’re famous – sometimes for no other reason than that. If you’re wondering why you see every move the Kardashians make highlighted in every media medium, it’s because they’re famous – and that’s enough to make them newsworthy. If a business or a brand can leverage a partnership, interaction or endorsement from a celebrity, this can immediately bring a newsworthy element to a pitch.
- Human interest – This is known to some as the “newsworthy wild card.” A story can lack all of the prior mentioned newsworthy elements, but still be picked up because of its appeal as a human interest piece. The tricky part about pitching human interest stories is that journalists usually like to come up with these ideas themselves and can be less receptive to pitch ideas about a human interest topic.
When evaluating possible story angles and campaigns, make sure to consider these factors to ensure pitches to the media are both strong and relevant and, as a result, more likely to result in press coverage for your brand.