Public relations professionals are frequently tasked with making news out of nothing. Often, my clients aim to stay in the public eye on a regular basis, but don’t always have much new to report.
If you’re hoping to be featured in a news outlet or on a blog, but you’re not sure if your company has what it takes to make headlines, believe me when I say that being newsworthy isn’t always about having a company that’s doing something revolutionary. Here are some simple tips to pitching a headline-worthy story.
Make Your Company Newsworthy
1. Position your company as part of a larger trend or issue.
Perhaps your company is part of an emerging market, or you aim to solve a new or growing problem. Pitch a story focused on the problem or trend and include a mention of your company as one solution within the space. Alternately, consider teaming up with other companies that share a common thread–such as similar missions, tactics, or even leadership. For example, if you run a blog about cooking with local food, you could partner with a restaurant that sources local food and a local farm to pitch a story about your shared mission of bringing sustainable food to the masses, and the larger local food movement growing in your city.
Think creatively–could you partner with other companies run by moms, or other women with a shared, rare skillset, or a group of alumni from your alma mater? It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes newsworthiness means making your company part of a bigger story, rather than making the story about you.
2. Tell a story with conflict.
If you’re not keen on sharing the PR limelight, then the next best way to pique a writer’s interest is to tell a story about the challenges your company faces. Writers know that their readers love a story of struggle, so, while it can feel dangerous, being honest and transparent is a top way to land a story. Examples of angles you might consider pitching could include:
- The difficulty of running a successful business as a mom
- Learning to adjust to changes within your industry
- The stress of running a startup
- The challenge of staying relevant
Just remember to demonstrate that you have a plan of action to overcome that challenge.
3. Exploit that which makes you unique.
I know you have something that sets you apart from the pack. Whether it’s your odd outlook, fun company culture, your workplace, mission, or marketing tactics, there’s something different about the way you do things.
Maybe you’ve overcome a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Possibly, you’ve got a really niche group of clients, or a strange but effective consulting strategy. Perhaps you have a background that someone in your line of work wouldn’t normally have, but it helps you see your customers’ needs in a different light. If you can identify and articulate that which makes you unique, you’ve got a winning story.
4. Pitch the right person.
News really is in the eye of the beholder. Your story could be Pulitzer Prize-worthy, but if you pitch it to the wrong person, it’s going in the trash. The research that goes into figuring out who to pitch is the decidedly un-sexy part about doing PR, but it’s a critical step. As you search for the right writers to target, keep a few of these guidelines in mind.
- Decide on a specific target audience for your story, and pitch only to writers at publications that specific audience would read. A story that would appeal to potential investors is different from one that might appeal to advertisers, or retail partners, or consumers. A story written to appeal to everyone will appeal to nobody.
- Take time to read several articles from the outlets you’re considering pitching. Would your story fit in there?
- Figure out which contributor or editor at the publication you should pitch your story to. Try to find a contributor who has written a similar story in terms of theme or topic, or pitch to the editor of the section where your story would fit. When you make the pitch, mention that you saw previous pieces they wrote and tell them why you think this story is a fit for their style.
The great thing about PR is that if your pitch falls flat, you haven’t lost anything. You’ve got unlimited chances to come up with and pitch new angles until one lands. With equal parts creativity, persistence, and solid pitching strategy, you can create buzz about your company–and leverage that exposure to build credibility, consumer awareness, brand loyalty, and more.
It’s your turn! What angle could you use to pitch a newsworthy story about your company?
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