When pitching your next news event or story to a reporter, follow these important tips for your best chance in making tomorrow’s headlines:
1) Before you reach out to the reporters on your list, know their names, beats, and the history of topics they’ve already covered. Referencing this information when in conversation with them allows you to differentiate yourself from the other hundred people that want their attention on any given day.
2) When leading up to a media event, first send a media alert to reporters explaining succinctly the who, what, when, where, and details. Then be that squeaky wheel, following up by phone several days prior to the event, in addition to the morning of. (Tip: most news staff hold morning assignment meetings around 9am. Planning a call at 10am and catching them right after that is ideal.)
3) During your media event, keep track of which reporter is speaking to which spokesperson. Make sure both questions and answers are on target. Also, be ready to take notes for each interview you witness, then provide the reporters with a recap of the interview, especially if its subject matter is complicated and could get easily confused.
4) Once your media event has concluded, follow up with the instant distribution of a detailed press release, including quotes from key spokespeople. Make one more round of calls to reporters, asking if they have anything they’d like to fact-check with you. Some may agree to it (which will give you a sneak-peek at the angle of their coverage), and all of them will appreciate this extra step that potentially makes their jobs easier.
5) Create visuals for reporters whenever possible – and don’t feel limited to photos! How about graphs, charts, or infographics to help you tell your story?