Practical Tips to Help Boost Your Organization's News Coverage and Online Engagement

 

Public relations professionals currently outnumber reporters by more than six-to-one, according to Bloomberg. That means that reporters’ inboxes are overflowing with pitches… and many of those end up in the trash. Learning how to write a creative, solid pitch that resonates with and stands out to a journalist is a craft that people who work in PR learn and perfect as they go along.

While pitches can seem cut-and-dry to the unseasoned eye, there are a lot of nuances to consider. For instance, reporters who want to write a good story aren’t interested in the general information on a client they could just Google. But when it’s all said and done, what does it take to boost coverage and online engagement? It’s a combination of strong storytelling skills, right timing, and just a little bit of luck.

Sage Communications recently attended the Public Relations Society of America’s event, on storytelling in PR, presented by Robb Deigh: a former journalist, author and founder of RDC Public Relations, LLC. Below are some key takeaways from the event on how to successfully pitch reporters and secure coverage. 

Understand before you act

Research is at the heart of every successful PR professional. Do your homework on the publication and reporter—and make sure you’re being strategic. Reporters receive hundreds of pitches daily—make sure yours isn’t automatically deleted by crafting a pitch that is relevant, timely, and unique, compared to your client’s competitors. Remember: reporters don’t necessarily care about your business, product or service, but they DO care about a good story.

Stray from the obvious

Not all coverage needs to be in the most obvious publications—instead, turn your attention to “side-door” pitching opportunities, like feature, trends, and history stories. Not all business pitches need to be featured on the business page! Is the CEO passionate about gardening? See how you can garner coverage for the business through the features section of a newspaper, or a gardening-specific publication! Coverage is coverage and will still contribute to greater brand awareness.

Every individual and every organization has a story

This brings us to our last point: every person has a story to tell. If you look back at some of the most successful stories of the year, they are engaging stories that will make your organization or client memorable in the eye of the public. And what do these stories revolve around? People. The skill of being able to find a unique employee, trend or nugget of information is critical to have and arguably, “the most fun part of any communications campaign.” Pro tip: always give the reporters multiple sources, because the more sources you provide, the more likely reporters will write the story. After all, you’ve just done 50% of the reporter’s work for them.

What extraordinary story can you pull out from your client or organization? Connect with us to explore how to increase your news coverage and online engagement at aboutsage.com/connect.

Sage Communications is committed to investing in a variety of external sources to enrich the understanding of the industries we work in. From guest speakers to webinars, conferences and other learning opportunities, Fishbowl will bring you analysis of the behind-the-scenes experiences here at Sage.

 
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X-SageJim McIntyre