7 Tips for Pitching Stories in the New Media Age

What's Your Story?Media pitching is harder than ever. There’s more competition. Fewer reporters. Less time. In the new media age, you only have a few seconds to get the reporter’s attention.

Knowing how to effectively pitch your ideas to the media is still one of the most important skills to have because it can help make a real impact. Regardless of the medium, media folks are looking for the right kind of content. Content is still key!

Here are seven tips to remember when pitching media:

1. Be relevant – zero-in on how your idea will impact the reporter’s audiences and on what scale. This is more important than ever these days since opportunities for news placement are getting more competitive as budgets shrink at media outlets.

2. A-ha! factor – offer a surprise in the form of data, facts or figures that are unsuspecting or attention-grabbing. With so much competition in the news today, not to mention all of the choices the public has in how they get their news, you must stand out or you will be left out.

3. Be exclusive – avoid pre-packaged stories when possible. Reporters need to beat their competition (just like you do) and tend to look for stories that are a first.

4. Point to trends – present the big picture. Even if you don’t have breaking news, reporters look for are overall trends or emerging issues. Take time to provide anecdotes and statistics that support claims that you’re at the forefront of wider developments or how you’re connected to larger arising trends.

5. Time is of the essence – ensure that your pitch is timely. If your topic or story has been covered before, you need a fresh angle. Also, remember that reporters live and die by deadlines, so being efficient and available are crucial. Make sure that your spokespeople are available immediately for interviews.

6. Get visual – editors look for stories that offer opportunities for interesting photos, videos or graphics. This has become even more important with the growing visual sophistication of today’s consumers.

7. Know what’s making headlines – journalists are constantly evaluating whether breaking news will bump other stories – and you should do the same. Hold your idea when big news is breaking or is set to break. Or, find a way to tie your idea into the breaking news. The more you know before contacting the media, the better!

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