So you have big news. And you are pretty sure that every newspaper and TV station in your region should cover it, after all, this news is the biggest thing to happen to your company in the past five years. But then your pitch email receives no response. Your press release goes unpublished. What happened?
Now you must ask yourself, was the pitch really newsworthy? Yes, it is big news for your company. But is it newsworthy for the journalist with whom you shared it? And what about that journalist’s audience? Why should they care? Journalists will evaluate each pitch on its merits in a few key categories to decide if the story will get ink. To help ensure your pitch gets the coverage it deserves, you can evaluate your company’s news based on the following categories as well.
1. Timeliness: Is the news recent? Your restaurant hired a new Michelin-rated chef. Wow! But you actually hired him six months ago and are just getting around to sharing the news. Well, unfortunately this story has now lost some of its clout because of the timing. A journalist’s job is to report on what is new and relevant, not what has happened in the past. Timeliness is everything; make sure your news is fresh.
2. Proximity: If your company is based in Pueblo, you probably aren’t going to make the Denver evening news. If, per chance, the news affects the Denver market, you may have a chance. But proximity plays a big role in whether or not a story will get covered. People want to read about things happening in their communities, journalists usually comply.
3. Future Impact: Did you discover something revolutionary? Are you leading a new trend that will change a certain consumer market? If your news pertains to your audience’s future, you have a great chance of getting covered. Remember all of those trend prediction stories that pop up each January? People like to imagine their future world.
4. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Have you watched the evening news lately? If so, you can’t miss the usual lineup led by a grizzly crime story, followed by a shocking reveal, and finally the heartwarming tear-jerker about a lost puppy. Sad but true, if your story has shock value or tugs at the heart strings, you have a higher likelihood of getting covered.
5. The Celeb Effect: Does your news involve the Kardashians? Great. Guaranteed coverage. Stories that feature local celebrities, politicians, and high profile folks tend to get more coverage.
With each potential press release or pitch, use the above listed categories and see how your news stacks up. A very strong pitch will include two or three of these assets, but you need to be a strong contender in at least one point to get noticed. Before you conduct any media outreach, be sure to ask the question: is this news relevant for the journalist? And better yet, will his/her audience care? If the answer is yes, you’ll likely see your name in the headlines soon.
If you need help identifying the stories your business has to share and communicating them with the audiences that care – your target market – to help your brand make a bigger impact, let’s find a time to connect.
Diana Crawford is a seasoned public relations consultant with more than 15 years of agency, consulting, and in-house experience. She joined Orapin in 2013 and manages account services and client communications strategy development. She has worked across a variety of sectors and has expertise with professional services, food/alcohol, health and wellness, lifestyle, sports, education, tech, and non-profit industries.