Pitching the (Seemingly Unresponsive) Media
By L. Drew Gerber
The biggest difference between pitching the media and pitching to a Major League slugger is that the Major League slugger will hit your bad pitches out of the park. When pitching the media, you have to throw perfect pitches to the media every time. No curve, breaking or knuckle balls — they have to be right down the center of the plate. Since the use of human growth hormones and steroids hasn’t caught on in the media, you’ll want to make it easy for them.
Here’s some ways to get your media pitch knocked out of the park:
Use a news hook
A news hook is an angle or approach to telling a news story. Tie you and your expertise into news or conversations of the day.
Create the perfect headline
Writing headlines is great practice for all kinds of pitching because it forces you to condense what you want to say into the fewest words possible. Put the most compelling and important information at the beginning. What’s the most important thing you want to tell the media about how you relate to the news or conversation? Can you say it in one sentence? Now say it in a five words or less. That’s your headline.
Learn from headlines
Read some headlines in major newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. You’ll find headlines related to the universally appealing topics of health, money and relationships. Can you tie your expertise to one of these topics?
Reduce the number of words you use to tell your story. (Notice how many words I used to get this point across.)
The media calls it “re-purposing.” You have content, but you just dress it up in seasonal clothes. For example, you might have content about health and beauty tips. For summer, give it a sunny slant. In winter, talk about how the cold and snow impact one’s skin.
Not only your plastics, but also your news content. The media does it and you should too. Holidays and seasons set the stage for news. For example, media will naturally seek Mother’s Day stories every year. Tie your pitch to seasonal news and you’ll get more attention.
Seasonal and breaking news headlines
Holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day aren’t the only seasonal news to pay attention to. There’s weather-related news like preparing for winter or getting skinny for summer. All those weather tie-ins matter. The media is always looking for content related to seasonal news. But breaking news is where it’s at. This can be crime, celebrity hiccups and political matters. The trick here is to only comment on breaking news that furthers your brand. It’s most effective if you find and work with media perfectly suited to your expertise and the breaking news commentary you can create.
So begin lobbing your pitches to the media and look forward to boosting your exposure!
About the Author: L. Drew Gerber is CEO of www.PublicityResults.com and creator of www.PitchRate.com, a free media tool that connects journalists and the highest rated experts. Gerber's business practices and staffing innovations have been revered by PR Week, Good Morning America and the Christian Science Monitor. His companies handle international PR campaigns and his staff develops online press kits for authors, speakers and companies with Online PressKit 24/7, a technology he developed (www.PressKit247.com). Contact L. Drew Gerber at: AskDrew@PublicityResults.com or call him at 828-749-3548.