If you’re still mailing out press releases and hoping to gain media attention, you are wasting your time. Today’s reporters work in an entirely different mode than just a few years back.
Here are five approaches that will gain the attention of a reporter.
5 Ways to Pitch a Reporter
1. Send an email with an attention-grabbing subject line.
With all the email reporters receive, you’ve got about a nanosecond to gain their attention. Don’t be generic. (“Here’s a great story idea.”) Rather offer a specific lead (“Women grow businesses faster than other sectors. 3 local examples.”)
2. Keep it brief.
No matter how fascinating you consider the content, long e-mails will be deleted. Present your pitch in three to five sentences. If you have lots of info that you think would be of value, link to it from your pitch.
3. Provide additional sources.
Contrary to what you might think, monopolizing the conversation does not work. Reporters would rather include multiple sources in a story. (See #1, above: three local examples rather than one local example.) If you provide a link to additional sources, including other interviewees, reputable research, and statistics, they are more likely to run with your idea.
4. Never send attachments.
Because viruses are so rampant, reporters never open attachments. If you send them, you’ll stand out as an amateur.
5. Make their job as easy as possible.
When you do have opportunities to work with reporters, make their jobs as easy as possible. I offer to have them email me their questions and provide the answers by return email. This saves them interviewing time, allows me to craft the exact response I want, and the end story is generally more accurate than one resulting from a conversation.