How Do I Get A Reporter Interested In My Story?

Posted by KayMcDowell on November 6, 2012


The old saying goes, “If it bleeds it leads.” So what if your story has less blood than Bella in the “Breaking Dawn” finale? Then it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and remember some of these time-tested media relations strategies.

  • What’s trending? Hook your story to a national trend, event, season or special month. Reporters often look for roundup stories or localized angles highlighting a trend or emphasizing a special holiday. Be sure to incorporate these ties into the pitch. Don’t assume the reporter will make the connection.
  • Tailor your pitch. Take the time to read or watch the media outlet you are pitching. Knowing the types of stories they prefer to cover and the angles covered can get your pitch off to a great start. Reporters appreciate professionals who have taken the time to become familiar with the types of subjects they cover. It is very helpful to refer to a past story in your pitch note as a way to demonstrate your familiarity.
  • Be the expert. Reporters always need good, reliable sources to support stories. Position your spokesperson as an expert in the subject matter and offer him or her as a quotable source for future stories. Send a video link of your spokesperson demonstrating that they can speak to relevant topics.
  • Failure is not always fatal. If a reporter greets your pitch with a less-than-enthusiastic response, engage and inquire about what aspects of the story they find interesting. Ask questions and let the reporter’s response guide you and help reframe your pitch.
  • Remember relationship. Use social media to build relationships with reporters and producers. Follow them on Twitter and re-tweet stories. When you have an established relationship with a journalist, stay in touch by sending an informative email from time to time that is not a pitch. Use your contacts strategically. Don’t inundate them with every story that comes across your desk.
  • Become a trusted resource. As newsrooms shrink and reporters must accomplish more with smaller teams, become a trusted supplier of information and sources. Be helpful, creative and responsive. Reporters face daily deadlines and will turn to professionals they know can deliver information and spokespeople on time.

Do you have proven pitching tips to share? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us your response using the hashtag #mcgblog.