September 9, 2021 3 minutes read

Everybody wants their news featured in all the best publications. And while a story in Forbes can make a world of difference to your brand, there is a lot that goes into getting your pitch just right so that you earn that kind of high-profile coverage.

Journalism and the media are a changed target these days, what with the Pandemic and restricted movement. Therefore, whatever you pitch has to make it easy for a journalist to cover the story with minimum legwork. In other words, the less work for them, the more likely you are to be featured.

Here are Four protocols to follow to get your story featured:

1. Make sure it’s News!

A journalist’s inbox is a prime target for all kinds of promotions and spam and the junk folder is always a click away. Make sure there’s something to talk about in your story. Are you creating a piece of history? Are you giving them an unusual insight into a situation?

Ask yourself:

  • Are you emailing the right journalist? (Read our blog about this.)
  • Is this the kind of story he/she/their publication normally covers?
  • Is this the kind of story their audience likes?

Then, and only then – hit send. Journalists do NOT like receiving pitches that they have no use for. It’s super important to remember this and not spam them and their inboxes.

2. KISS (Keep it short, silly)

The acronym may owe its origins to the US military, but it is just as applicable here. 

Journalists are always rushing to meet deadlines and do not have time to read anything more than they have to. 

The perfect pitch size is a few sentences, a couple of paragraphs. Although that can be a tough ask, it is critical. Additionally, remember they probably do not have time to call you to ask for more details. So, include everything:

  • A quote from leadership
  • Press kit
  • Data: charts and numbers
  • Photographs
  • Any other supporting material you have.

With all this information at their fingertips, they can write their story efficiently and fast.

3. Some basics to remember

  • Quick replies – News moves fast. If a journalist contacts you for information, reply immediately or stand to lose the story.
  • Follow up once – If you don’t hear back after you send out your pitch, follow up just the one time. There’s always the chance they missed the story in their inbox. However, even after that if you don’t hear back, you can usually assume they are not uninterested.
  • Proofread your pitch – Make sure your email reads well, is coherent, and not replete with grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Respect their preferred channel of communication – usually journalists prefer email as a channel of communication. There is no need to approach them from multiple angles, over social media or the phone. It will only serve to work against you.

4. Build relationships

It may take a little time, but when you practice protocols as above, you stand a good chance of building a decent rapport with the media. A solid relationship with members of the press stands you in good stead when you’re running to meet deadlines yourself and want that extra coverage. Investing in relationships with journalists can include:

  • Getting to know them as people – the occasional coffee is a nice way.
  • Share news about your industry.
  • Compliment them on a recent story they wrote.
  • Follow them on social media and leave insightful comments.

Essentially you want them to know that you are a credible human being and someone who is invested in learning about them.

The bottom line

Remember that journalists are perpetually working against time to file stories. This is especially so in today’s world of social media live broadcasts by viewers and witnesses at any given time. If you can make life just that tad bit easier for them, when you follow the above protocols, it will work in your favor.

As a PR professional it is your job to make sure that you are the perfect liaison between your company / your client and the press. It does involve a lot of legwork, research, writing, relationship building and more, however, all of it will lead to a fantastic reputation for you and the brands you represent. Talk to us to find out how Wizikey can help you get there.