Selling in your stories

Selling your story to the press is a key skill for any PR person worth their salt. The way you go about this can make the difference between a rude rebuttal and getting the coverage you want. Here are some top tips for getting it right.

1. Know your media

Before you pitch a story to the press, you need to understand the media you’re approaching; who they are; what they want and the type of pressure on them.

You can’t pitch journalists or bloggers effectively if you don’t know what they are interested in and like to write about. Take the time to look at the type of stories that they write and decide how you can package your story to meet their needs.

If your story is about school improvement and the journalist you’re approaching is particularly interested in individual student stories, you need to ensure that you include a student story in your pitch.

Be considerate about when they’re likely to be too busy to take your call. National journalists, for example, usually have editorial meetings at 10:30am and are on deadline at around 4pm. They do not appreciate calls at these times.

2. Standing out from the crowd

Journalists can receive 100 e-mails or more every day from PR people. This is why the pitch you send needs to be brief, clear and to the point. A great subject line is very important too.

Remember what they want – great stories that appeal to their readers!

For example, an announcement about a promotion within Company X is unlikely to be of interest unless it means that more jobs will be created as a result.

3. If you don’t use the phone for selling then you’re not telling!

With journalists receiving so many e-mails each day, you can’t become reliant on e-mail communication to get your story picked up.

If you have researched your media well and you are confident in your story, the phone call will be much easier.

You need to get straight to the point with the journalist over the phone. Give them a quick snapshot of the story and offer research, spokespeople and/or photos if you have them.

4. Follow-up

Journalists do not appreciate a phone call that is just to ask if they’re going to use a story or press release.

Follow-up your pitch with additional information for the journalist or an extra interviewee. If your story is relating to women’s sport, for example, you might have picked up on a survey of women’s perceptions of sport in the news that would provide the journalist with the hook they need to write an article on your news.

I hope you have found these tips useful. If you have any more ideas or have feedback on the ideas above, please let me know.

This entry was posted in Blog, Journalists, PR Ideas and Resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • Keep up to date

  • Share this:

    If you have found this article interesting please use the share buttons below to tell others in your online community, there's a good chance they will find it interesting too. Thank you.

  • About the Author

    My focus is on achieving great coverage for our clients and the best part of my day is talking with journalists and bloggers. I am the company’s education blogger expert and spend a lot of my time researching what it is that makes them tick. My background in teaching helps me to think from a teacher’s perspective when developing PR ideas and writing for our clients in the education sector. Outside of work I like to run, play the piano and have fun with my kids.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

*

  • What our clients say

    "Very responsive to urgent issues/requests. Extremely strong relationship management across all areas of our business."

    "You're responsive, have a rapid turnaround of work and easy to discuss ideas with, turning often wild ideas into a quality piece of work."

    "Response times to enquiries/requests are very quick and very clear. Impressive quality of work that comes through demonstrating in-depth industry insight."

    "It is a very professional and informed service, great people and represent our company and values really well."

    "The service we receive is great."

    "The team are great to work with and really enthusiastic about our business and the education sector. It's great to be working with people who really know their stuff."

    "Friendly, approachable team who deliver great results."

    "Good, solid service provider. Flexible, open and trustworthy."

    "You make it look so easy when turning a dry subject into something very interesting."

    "Always professional, always helpful, always top quality."

    "Work is of a very high standard and with good results. A pleasure to work with the team."

    "Catherine Lane PR has enabled us to build a positive relationship with the press that has resulted in many more of our customers understanding just what our software can do for them."

    "Catherine Lane PR continues to more than justify my decision to take them on and then increase the number of days that they do for us."

    "We were extremely impressed with the ability of Catherine Lane PR to get to grips quickly with our products and their key messages, which was reflected in the quality and amount of press coverage we received."