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28th September 2015

How To Pitch A Story To A Journalist – 5 Handy Tips

Bella Design & Marketing’s Rebekah Holliday is often asked for advice on the best way to get a busy newsroom journalist to take notice of a press release or story proposal.

“While there’s no sure-fire method, there are certain things you can do to help progress your case,” she said.

“Remember, journalists are very busy and are bombarded each and every day with phone calls, emails and tweets from people pitching story or article ideas.

“They have to sort the wheat from the chaff very quickly so it’s imperative that your information is presented in a way that’s attractive and easy to digest.

“And most importantly, that you have a good angle.”

Here are five top tips to get you started:



1. Target the right journalist

There’s little point in sending your press release to the business editor if it relates to a charity event or vice versa.

Most journalists/reporters are on Twitter or other social media outlets and a lot of the time, reporters and the patch they cover is listed on their employer’s website.

Do you homework first and don’t rely on different news desks to pass your press release on to the right department.



2. Media-rich enhancements

Harvest photos, video or audio to support your press release. Words are good but this is the digital age.

If you can offer up a great photo (or 10) or a video interview or demonstration, you will have a much better chance of your story being picked up.

That’s because stories that include these items are more widely read online and what every journalist wants is for their story to be seen.



3. Keep your phone on

If you’re the press contact, make sure you have good availability to take calls, enquiries and to answer questions.

Nothing irritates a journalist more than the phone ringing out after they’ve just received a press release that’s caught their attention.

Be sure journalists can get in touch with the person whose job it is to speak to them.



4. Facts, facts, facts

Including figures and statistics are a fantastic way to add credibility to your pitch.

Make sure they’re accurate and up-to-date and demonstrate how they could be useful in adding depth to your story.



5. Suggest but don’t demand

Ultimately, it will be up to the journalist to decide how (or if) they use the information you’ve provided.

Unless the journalist is a really good contact you’ve got a relationship with, try not to disclose the ‘bad angles’ you want to avoid.

Most likely you’ll just give the journalist ideas for a pitch that may differ drastically to what you’re trying to achieve!



Do you need PR advice, a media release or social media campaign? Contact Bella today.

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