News gathering and the distribution of it has changed. Beat structures have been demolished; and citizen journalists are everywhere. Real-time news has led to a decrease in (and some would say lack of) fact checking. Despite this dreary news, if your job is to pitch the media, you can still successfully get your story pitched.
Michael Smart, principal of MichaelSMARTPR, shared solutions to the most common challenges.
Have you ever developed a reporter source only to go to pitch them and learn that they had left the station? (Or worse, been laid off?) Or what if you are pitching a topic that no longer has mainstream reporters covering it?
Smart says not to panic about the media fragmenting because in many ways it is providing more opportunities. Online publications often have circulations that rival – and exceed – traditional media.
The solution is to find new outlets that are already reaching your audiences.
With newsroom cutbacks, journalists and bloggers often are too busy to take calls, let alone meet with you. So how do you get their attention? Smart says you need to consume their content and then let them know you did. You can tweet about a story or comment online. You can send them an email about the story. Smart cautions, though, that this is not the time to pitch the reporter. He says you just want them to open the email so next time when you do pitch, they’ll be familiar with your name.
The solution is to read and react.
Smart also recommends scheduling 10 minutes a day to read and react to reporters’ stories.
Other solutions to help pitch reporters, include:
- Reframe pitches into the way journalists present their stories
- Create content for influencers to share
- Customization must be specific and sincere