For the past 60 years, Business Wire has worked in conjunction with media outlets, large and small, around the globe. As the world changes, so does journalism. In 2020, reporters and organizations are looking for more authentic stories to tell. Taking this one step further, reporters are not interested in telling an organization’s story, they are interested in telling a story their audiences want to read.
To maximize your chances for catching a reporter’s attention with your news release, here are our top 32 media relations tips and best practices for securing coverage during a pandemic:
Media relations basics
The first way to stand out from the crowd is to make sure you follow these basic rules of engagement.
- Never distribute news to a mass list of reporters and journalists
- Get each reporter and media outlet name right
- Know what the reporter covers
- Know your audience; know the reporter’s audience
- Know the voice of the media outlet you are pitching
- Make your subject line/headline the most important part of the pitch
The basics of a pitch
Every reporter we spoke to offers the same best practices for pitching a news story. Following these steps increases the likelihood of reporters using your news.
- Be detailed and concise
- Take the time to craft your pitch
- Answer the questions: What is the news? Why do they care?
- Connect the dots from your content to their audience in your pitch
- Put everything in the pitch
- Do not include attachments
- Include data and sources
- Include a link to your news release that contains all the factual data and downloadable multimedia
Your news content
The only way to secure earned media coverage is to create relevancy between your news and the audience of the journalist you are pitching. Consider these factors when creating relevancy.
- Be timely
- Understand what makes your industry tick
- Position your news to stand out in some way
- Write a complete headline/subject line that includes the “Why?”
- Make sure your news is relevant to the local market and audience you’re pitching
- Do not write from your own voice, think of the millions of perspectives reading the story
- Speak the language of your audience, translate content when needed
Almost every media outlet today requires multimedia before publishing a story. Without authentic imagery, there is no story to tell. Here are what reporters want.
- Skip marketing images, think about visuals that show the impact of your news
- Videos should show the process, not just the beauty shots
- B-roll allows video editors to shape their own story
- Video should not feature stock footage or include overlay text on videos
- Provide the ability to download or embed codes for social updates and multimedia
Here are six tactical tips to always keep in mind during your media pitching process.
- Email reporters, don’t DM them through social channels
- Remember, reporters keep pitches for future use
- 8-10 AM is the best time to pitch local TV stations
- Never use Google Translate to localize news release content
- Evergreen content and SEO is part of the news process
- Reporters base success on the conversations the story generates
Here are two bonus resources for you.
- Business Wire’s Media Relations Tips video series including interviews with influencers, reporters and publishers such as TechCrunch, Fast Company and more.
- Our recent white paper featuring tips on pitching during a pandemic from USA Today, Fast Company and Business Insider.
Maintaining relationships with the media is what we do. Maximizing the reach and usage of your news is our goal. Contact us to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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