You can follow all the right steps to writing a damn good pitch… and still hear crickets.
I hate to break it to ya friend, but sometimes the angle you’re pitching isn’t as interesting to a journalist as you’d think.
So are all your dreams of being published in major publications like Entrepreneur and Forbes shattered?
Not so quick. If you read on, you’ll notice that we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeves to getting you published.
PR agencies use a variety of tactics to get their clients featured in major publications– they come in handy when a client is raving on about a project that we just know won’t get any media attention (unsurprisingly… this happens a lot). If we relied on clients to bring us only newsworthy projects there would be absolutely no need for PR agencies!
So, what’s the secret sauce?
Here are the PR industry’s best-kept secrets for getting published in major publications – even when your story isn’t newsworthy.
What better way to get media attention than jumping on the bandwagon of an already trending story and making it your own?
Newsjacking is when you take advantage of a story already in the media or a major current event that you know will be reported on, and use it to tie in your own story.
This is a top strategy that PR agencies use to get their clients coverage.
The reason this works is because journalists are always keen to stay on top of a developing story and be the first to capture a new angle on the story before their competitors– guaranteeing your pitch for consideration, if done correctly.
A GREAT example is when same-sex marriage was passed in the UK, Virgin Holidays, part of Virgin Airlines, newsjacked the story to highlight their honeymoon packages while showing company-wide support for same-sex marriage.
As these events can’t really be pre-planned, get your media-monitoring goggles on in preparation for the next big (or relevant) story!
This is similar to newsjacking, but doesn’t revolve around breaking news. Being timely means being aware of any recent events, reports or factors in general that would make the media interested in your story on the basis that it is relevant. This will get you published in major publications because it is related to a story that the media is already expecting to cover.
Things like International Women’s Day or Black History month, for instance, can be a good example of timeliness because these are recognized ‘events’ that the media like to highlight, so if your story can be successfully looped in you’ll have a better chance of getting coverage.
Similarly, you can leverage things like reports or studies that have been recently released– for instance, if you wanted to share a story about the dire state of mental health in entrepreneurs and there happens to be a recent study done on the topic, up to a month ago, drawing a connection between your story and that study accurately factors in a timely news hook.
Learn about the journalist
Getting published in major publications is 50 per cent about learning who to pitch and how to pitch them– it’s just as important as finding the right story!
You can find the social media information for journalists really easily on Google– and they especially love Twitter.
Find journalists with personal interests around the topic you’re pitching or who specifically writes for your niche. That knowledge is your power– use it to tailor your pitch and subject line to something they simply can’t resist!
For example, Carol Kuruvilla writes for Huffpost– more specifically, about religion. So, if you run a faith-based business and wanted to share insight on the obstacles faith-based business entrepreneurs face, Carol would be your gal. She would have a personal interest in your story and would instantly open your email after reading an interesting subject line that is focused on religion.
Had you sent the exact same pitch and subject line to a totally different reporter with zero interest in religion, I can almost guarantee they won’t open it.
As a rule of thumb, if you can find the details of journalists who work for a specific publication, don’t pitch a general email (ex. [email protected]). Unless you have a breaking story, it is very likely that your email will just get lost in the thousands and thousands of emails swimming in that general inbox.
Tailored subject lines
I’ll shout it from the rooftops if I have to– your subject lines are SO important. Your subject line will be the reason someone opens your email– no matter how good your pitch is, if nobody reads it, you still won’t be getting published.
If your meticulously planned subject line is still not getting opens, there’s a reason: you haven’t tailored it to the journalist.
If you’re pitching a story to the finance editor, the subject line should clearly focus on the financial aspect of the story so they know that your email is relevant. If you’re pitching the same story but to a lifestyle editor, you’ll want to remove the financial aspect from the subject line and focus on the lifestyle angle instead.
So simple, yet so impactful!
Journalists are possessive and they hate writing about the same stories as one another.
That’s why they love exclusive stories.
Offering a journalist an exclusive story can be a great way to secure coverage with your favourite publication without it falling on deaf ears during a pitch spree. It makes the journalist feel special and has a very VIP ring to it, meaning your story will be given plenty of extra love and attention. The journalist will be more invested, ensuring a swift and successful publication process.
It also helps build a relationship with the journalist for future stories, as they will feel like they can trust you to get newsworthy information.
Be warned though… this only works if your story is actually newsworthy to that publication. Offering an exclusive on your bangin’ chicken cheddar recipe to the New York Times will be nothing but tumble weed.
You get the picture.
I like to think that everyone has a newsworthy story in them– yes, even you– but the right angle just hasn’t been told yet. Getting published in major publications is no easy task, but it is certainly doable. Get thinking… and I’ll see you in the news, friend.
Looking for how to score brand sponsorships? Find those details here.
Have you ever tried using one of these methods? If so, what was your experience? Let me know below!