Here are some of our tips for securing the best coverage:
Why should I care?
Journalists are looking for stories that have an impact on their audience. At Shout! we try to answer this key question for journalists and explain why they should not only care, but WANT to run the story. One way of doing this is to find out what a particular media outlet looks for in a story before you pitch it to them.
Saskia Black, who worked at the news and sports company IMG, gives this top tip: ‘Don’t just email over stories – take a journalist out for coffee. You are more likely to get detailed and genuine feedback, plus you can find out first-hand what they look for in a story. Once you’ve established a relationship with them, try not to ruin it by pitching stories you know they’d dislike – journalists will respect you more for sending over material that suits their interests.’
A news story must have relevance for the time that it is being pitched. If your story is about skin cancer and safety when in the sun, it is going to be less appealing to journalists during a cold and stormy week. At Shout!, our media relations team is constantly monitoring news cycles and looking for opportunities to tie our clients’ news into them.
Claire Gregory, former journalist at Sky News says ‘If you can tie your story to an upcoming event or timely issue – rather than just a product or service you’re trying to promote – you’ve got a better shot of getting coverage”.
How is this new?
When I was a news editor at ITN we’d always be on the look out for a “water cooler” story – a story that was new or quirky enough for viewers to remember and re-tell to their friends or colleagues. A pitch that began: “I saw your story about… I have a similar story” would make your heart sink. Chances are if a story has been covered once it won’t be covered again unless there is a new offering or fresh angle.
My personal tip is: “If it is a story that has already been on air – or even in the papers – try to look for a new angle and offer something that hasn’t been done before in order to secure the best coverage.”