Media Relations – Watch it, Read it, Pitch it.
By, Frazier Fulton, director of client services
Pitching the media isn’t easy, but with a few tips, you can become a pro like us.
News services like The Skimm and my Amazon Alexa’s daily recap are helpful in staying in the know of what is happening in the world. But, I only use those for my own personal knowledge, and sometimes I don’t retain it.
At Commonwealth PR we have the Richmond Times Dispatch delivered to our doorstep. Little secret, I’m always excited when I see it on the stoop because it means I’m the first to arrive at the office! Something about the tangible newspaper is nice. Throughout the day I’ll take a break and read an article or two. Sometimes they relate to what I’m working on, but mostly topics aren’t relevant.
I learned early on in my career that my best content development for media relations (news release, pitch, media alert, etc.) happens when I’m tuned in to the local and national news. Why? Because when I read or watch the news, I’m focusing on how it is being reported. What exactly was the headline? The lead? Sometimes, in my head, in the shower, or car, I’ll craft what I think would have been the pitch to the journalist if that news had been my client’s story.
When a new intern starts, I give them this exact project; read three news stories and then write what you think the pitch was to get the journalist to pay attention to your news. It helps to get into the journalist mindset when writing and takes the pressure off before writing their first real pitch.
This is the strategic thinking that can easily be overlooked but it is so important. I often brag about how lucky I am to have found a career I love so much. A big part of loving my career is that it is ingrained in my brain. I’m constantly thinking about the industries we cover for clients (which is all of them!) and I am thinking through how we can be better practitioners for those clients.
So, tonight while you’re watching the news and cooking dinner, jot down a few story or headline ideas you come up. It’s a great practice!