By Kali Bean
The Hoffman Agency, Portland-Vancouver
You know that feeling, when you open up your email to a new message from a big time reporter? The words “I’m interested” have actually spurred me to JUMP out of my chair. There’s no greater feeling than landing that big hit — and the satisfaction of sending your client an email to share the news.
But dare I say, most of us have also experienced the silence. That feeling of desperation for a big shiny media story to make our clients and our managers smile, and make everything right in the world.
All too often, I think we find ourselves trying the same thing over and over … and expecting different or better results. Pitching is an art form, one that can never be truly mastered. So with that, I’m sharing four tips to breathe a little more life into your media relations program:
Consume media: Don’t ever stop reading, watching and learning. I can’t stress enough the value of diversifying the type of media we consume to boost our media pitching.
For example, I always watch KPTV Channel 12 News in the morning. But every once in a while, I force myself to switch to another channel to see what other stations are covering and familiarize myself with anchors on the other local news stations to better inform my local media pitching.
The more I consume, the more I understand the stories that are being written. Trust me, it will inspire pitch ideas if you watch and read with intention.
Stay on top of current events: Maybe you’ve heard that it’s a presidential election year. Right, it’s sort of hard to miss. We know that the media are going to continue to center their attention on the election. Instead of fighting against these current events for media attention, look for a way to creatively insert yourself into the story.
Ask why: Don’t accept a list of features and functions with the words “innovative” thrown in there for fun to talk about new product. Ask why. Why was that feature added? Why is this important? Why would a consumer or business buy it? Use that to build your story arc.
Enlist help: When all else fails, schedule a brainstorm. Invite others from different teams to lend fresh insight. Encourage everyone to come with something to share, such as a favorite story, a unique angle in a publication you’re targeting, a recently discovered column, a new PR trend, a cool campaign someone else did. Use that to spur new ideas.
All that said, I’d love to hear … what else is working for you? How do you keep the ideas flowing?