Quick tips to get a reporter’s attention for your press story

We’ve been there at one point or the other – not getting feedback from a journalist after sending a pitch with an important update from our organisation. With so many social media tools, news feeds, aggregate sites, and deadlines competing for a journalist’s attention, it can be mind-boggling to figure out what makes a successful email pitch. This means you are left with the task of figuring out what to do to get your email to stand out in the pool of all the numerous things that are competing for the journalist’s attention. 

There are many things to consider here. First of all, it is important to understand the media terrain you’re working in. If media is largely paid for, then your email pitch will be sidelined for those that come with the required payment. If media is earned, that is you are not required to make a payment to get your story published, then you need to consider the newsworthiness of your story and what the journalist in particular finds interesting. 

We’ve curated some quick tips that can help you to get a journalist’s attention for your press stories.  

Show them how the story fits with their crowd

Every journalist has the audience he or she is writing for. It will be a waste of time for them to work on a story that doesn’t align with their audience. And there’s simply no point in you pitching a business story to a journalist that is focused on Tech.

So before you send out that email pitch, ask yourself these questions:  Is this newsworthy or appropriate? Will this journalist find the story interesting?

Take out time before sending your email pitch to research the journalist and understand the beat that they cover. 

Have supporting materials

When you send out your email pitch, have your supporting materials ready. This includes pictures, links or even videos. You should, therefore, think ahead about what supporting materials the journalist may require.

It is also good practice to ensure that you are available in case the journalist needs to have more information or he/she would like to do an interview with the spokesperson in your organisation for example.  

Explore a unique angle 

One of the things that makes a story newsworthy is the angle. An unmemorable story can be turned around just by focusing on a unique angle. Look at the story you want to pitch and explore a unique angle that will make it attractive to the journalist you want to pitch to.

Journalists usually love being the first to break a story or tell it from a unique angle. Give them an opportunity to do this through the story you are pitching to them.

Don’t give up

Yes, it can be discouraging when your news story is ignored or even rejected. What we’ll say is don’t give up! If you can, try to seek feedback from the journalist. You can also explore pitching to other journalists who just might take more interest in the story.

Finally, don’t neglect the power of your owned platforms to disseminate news about organisation.

What strategies have worked for you in dealing with journalists? Feel free to share.



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