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Think like a journalist to create a successful media pitch

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Successfully pitching stories to the media is the heart and soul of any good public relations campaign.

Generating content through press releases and social media posts is fine for search engine optimization, but nothing comes close to affecting sales like third-party independent content that was born from a compelling media pitch.

If your company hasn’t had success pitching newsworthy stories, here are helpful pointers to securing that next feature article or television segment.

< STORY TIME

Public relations, and really every aspect of a strategic integrated marketing campaign, is about telling a compelling story.

If your press pitch doesn’t read like it would be a story that would interest readers or viewers, why would a member of the media be interested in writing it?

Reporters are not interested in information about products (unless they specifically cover product releases in that industry). They want good stories.

Hook them in with a well-written and vivid (but brief) story idea and provide them with the resources (interviews, website links for more information, video and images) to take it from there.

Remember – members of the press are talented thinkers, and your pitch is just a starting point for them to express their creativity. The final product will often look different than your original pitch, and that’s OK.

< CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION

When working with a new client, the first thing to do is look at the competition’s media coverage and reverse engineer the story ideas its PR team developed.

Once you have this information, take an honest look and evaluate what your company does better. That information should, ideally, line up with your company’s brand identity.

The press pitches you create should all come back to that message in some way, shape or form.

For example, let’s say your company creates office furniture. Your competitors are focused on comfort and cost, but your advantages are a sleek look, superior design and efficient use of space.

All of your story pitches should focus on those authentic separators. “How to design a sleek home office in a New York City studio apartment” is just one example of a press pitch that would work in this hypothetical example.

Then take that pitch to the next level – set up an apartment and take images and video. Offer an interview with a professional decorator to share his or her design tips.

That’s the difference between a story and a sales pitch.

< STAY RELEVANT

Ask yourself how your pitch fits as a piece of something much bigger.

If you can use your pitch as an example of a larger trend or to localize a national story, your chances of successfully placing that story increases exponentially.

The calendar is also your friend. Take a look at notable dates – things the media always cover every year.

How can your company position itself to take advantage of that built-in press coverage while staying true to its brand identity?

Trend stories that open a window into the future, localizing national news and capitalizing on significant dates on the calendar are just a few ways you can make sure your press pitch is newsworthy and relevant.

If this all sounds exhausting, there is no need to worry. An experienced publicist has successfully done this countless times and can generate the kind of media coverage your company deserves.

David Saba of Bethlehem is the director of public relations for integrated branding agency Garfield Group, Newtown. He has more than 14 years of public relations experience with a variety of clients across many industries and sectors. He can be reached at dsaba@garfieldgroup.com.

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