5 pitching musts to help journalists cover your company

Answer these questions to make life easier for the writer or segment producer you’re courting.

If you want to increase the likelihood of getting a journalist to write about your company’s news, you’ve got to make it incredibly easy for them to do so.

To that end, minimize back-and-forth emailing with questions and get them answered in your initial missive. Here’s what journalists want included in your pitch:

1. Why do my readers give a damn?

It’s nice that you got an award recently, but do the readers of ABC Publication really care? If the journalist doesn’t think so, you won’t get past him into print (or online). You may have to do a little legwork to connect your news to a reason readers will care.

For example, let’s say your award was for customer service. Maybe as a result of getting that customer service award, you decide to offer 25 percent off to anyone who congratulates you on the award. That’s of value to readers. Or maybe you’re holding a celebration party and everyone is invited.

2. Why is your story relevant now?

Maybe the news just happened, so you want it to be “hot off the presses.” Perhaps it’s timely because of some larger global trend. Let the reporter know why it’s essential that this story is told now, rather than a month from now.

3. What’s the real story here?

It’s easy to go into autopilot mode with company news. (Read this in a robotic voice:) “We just acquired a new company and will be selling floobers starting next month. Beep. Boop.”

There’s always an underlying story, and that’s the one journalists really care about. Maybe you started your business after beating cancer because you decided life’s too short not to take risks. Perhaps you’re the tenth in a long line of women who have been in the family business. Take a step away from your business to see what’s interesting about the story to an outsider.

4. Why did you pitch me and not another journalist?

You want to make the journalist feel special and to show that you’ve read her writing and know your news is a good fit. If she feels that you just emailed the first contact you found on the website, she won’t warm up to your news.

To that end, read several of her articles and find a common thread. Don’t be shy about mentioning an article you liked or one that ties in to your own pitch.

5. What other resources do you have to make my life easier?

If the journalist does decide to write about you, she’ll want photos, company background, and maybe a quote from you. Send a link to your press page with URLs from which she can pull images, as well as details about the company. Tell her you’re happy to answer any questions or give her another quote or two once she gets writing.

Bonus Tip: Be available. If a journalist has to chase you down to get answers to her questions, she’ll drop the story completely.

Susan Payton is president of Egg Marketing & Communications, which specializes in content writing and social media management. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

Topics: PR

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