When telling a news story, choosing the audience wisely is as important as the writing itself. Not all audiences will want to read all news. This has always been true, through the many eras of news. However, with the current flood of information and availability of news anytime and anyplace, it is especially important now. Ask yourself these questions before you even pitch a story. Who are my readers? Who is going to care about this story?
Once you determine your audience, you can start to research publications that are relevant to that industry or vein of interest. Avoid sending your press release to every publication you can think of. For example, if your story is about an office remodel that caters to the work habits and needs of Millennials, you wouldn’t pitch the story to Cat Fancy or The New Yorker. It may take some time to find the appropriate publications, but the leads you discover will be far more qualified than sending your pitch to as many publications as you can without doing research.
Another facet of news is relevance to current trends. It is a difficult task to create a buzz about something – better to ride the tide of another trending topic or collection of stories. For example, in the above story about remodeling an office to appeal to Millennials, you may use references to research done by larger companies such as Apple or Google that state the importance workplace satisfaction plays in productivity. You could even relate the story to studies that have shown that inactivity leads to health problems – the newly remodeled office provides employees with areas that promote physical activity and thus wellbeing. This is where you get to be creative and perhaps learn a bit more about the story yourself. Doing some research into the topic can help you make relevant connections that will be very effective in relaying the importance of your story.
Even after you do your research and create connections to relevant, trending topics, your story may not be viable. In the current information atmosphere, people have access to so much news that it is increasingly difficult to capture their attention. The 24-hour news cycle has yielded to an even more rapid moment-to-moment news cycle, so trending topics can appear and become obsolete in just hours. Appealing to emotions helps, great quotes help, relevance to trends helps, but ultimately the often fickle audience of today decides what is going to be newsworthy. Reporters and news outlets are forced to keep up with their ever-changing tastes.
Despite the challenges you face with pitching your story to the media, don’t be discouraged and don’t take it personally. In the event that your story is chosen for publication, the resulting piece is extremely rewarding after the obstacles you’ve faced in today’s news environment.
Remember, too, that not all press releases are destined for the pitch. A press release can be valuable in other ways, as part of your content strategy. Some news just is not headline worthy, but it doesn’t mean that your audience and customers don’t want to know about it. If you post all of your press releases on your website and distribute online, not only are you keeping your audience up to date on your company news, you are adding points to your search engine optimization (SEO). There is a lot of value to this, especially if you are consistent and post press releases regularly. This can help boost your search engine page ranking. A good SEO strategy will include a mix of activities and this is one of them.
Pinstripe Marketing offers public relations as one of our many services. Public relations is one aspect of a complete marketing strategy – we help create pitches that tell the story of your brand. Check out the below links for more advice on what makes a good news story.