Breathe Life into Your Public Relations Story: How to Make Your Pitch Extraordinary

by russlaw | June 22, 2015 | General

PR practitioner: Knock knock.

Reporter: Who’s there?

PR practitioner: Someone pitching you another story about my brand and our accomplishments.

Reporter: *Door slams!*

The truth is, just because your organization or brand won another award or is partnering with a charity to do good deeds does not mean the media is interested. Or at least they could be, and they just don’t know it yet. One of the biggest tasks in public relations is take ordinary news and make it extraordinary.

Today, we’re sharing some advice that will breathe life into your PR story and allow any PR pro to take a familiar story that has been told before and make it interesting to the media and, more importantly, the key audiences.

Look at it from a different angle

Life doesn’t come in black and white, and neither do events and company milestones. Flex your creative muscles and try looking at your next pitch with the following things in mind. You might be surprised by the story you’ll find:

  • History: Has this ever been done before?
  • Quantity: If this has happened before, how many times has this happened and does it have potential to ever happen again?
  • Impact: Who does this affect? Will anything change due to this news? Is there potential for others to get involved? How will this story impact others, like the community, or the audience?

Make it human

If you’ve ever heard the infamous news media line “If it bleeds, it leads,” then this next bit of advice may come as no surprise to you. As gruesome as that phrase is, it does hold validity. Humans relate to emotion. Assuming your key audience and the reporter you’re pitching to are still human, you should take your story and make it resonate emotionally. If your story has an appeal that will make the audience say “Aww” or “Wow,” chances are the media will pick it up. For example, a lottery winner that scratched a ticket for $80,000 dollars may not be a huge story, as Lottery players win of that size fairly often. However, if that $80,000 enabled a struggling family to send their son or daughter to a four-year university, there is a human element to the story that may warrant more attention.

Get to know your reporter

Pitching to the right audience can make a world of difference. Knowing your reporter, the stories they like to write and the causes that they care about is imperative to crafting an extraordinary pitch. Tailoring your pitch for each reporter may sound tedious, but it will be more effective and worth the effort.

Think about it this way: in the time it would take you to send out 50 non-personalized pitches you’d be lucky to get your story picked up twice. In that same timeframe, if you tailor 10 pitches to specific reporters, you are more likely to secure coverage as well as facilitate memorable relationships. That is how your network grows.

Whether it’s an annual event or company milestone, the way you craft your pitch to tell the story can make all the difference. Getting to know your reporter, identifying a human element, and changing the angle from which you look at your news will drastically increase the likelihood of landing top-tier news placement.


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