As a full-service marketing and public relations agency, we’re often asked, “What types of stories can you get me in X publication?” While the answer is far from one-size-fits-all, there are tried and true story angles that are proven to pique reporters’ attention – assuming you are pitching the right content to the right reporter/editor, that is. These winning PR angles include:
What reporter doesn’t want to break coveted news in their market? Being given the first chance to tell a story is high value to reporters and, if you find the right publication to pitch, it can have a significant impact on the client’s business/mission. Remember, to be worthy of an exclusive your story needs to have a high news value – think 10 out of 10 – and have high relevance to the publication’s readers/viewers/listeners. When you have this holy grail of news angles, it’s time to pitch the top of your A-list.
Trend pieces come in a few shapes and sizes, the two most common being the one that exemplifies a trend and the one that defies a trend. There is, of course, the point-counterpoint version of the trend story as well, so long as the company or cause’s risk tolerance makes them comfortable being involved in this type of a dialogue. Regardless of which model your story mirrors, the key is to have proof points – both statistical and anecdotal – to illustrate your story. For example, if you are a real estate brokerage firm seeking to be quoted as an expert on the demand for office space in a certain market, data you can provide that illustrates the correlation between supply and demand, as well as clients/contacts who you can offer up to provide first-hand accounts of the challenge will help to frame your story and give the reporter more meat to work with. This is where a public relations agency can provide high value in helping to map the storyline and identify the types of spokespeople who will be most valuable in sealing the deal with your target media outlet.
Local Perspectives on National News
While national news has a broad impact – think national unemployment/job growth data, for example – what matters to the people who live in a specific area is how things in their own backyard are being impacted. To give a nonprofit example, if a study is released showing that corporate giving is highest in a particular region of the U.S. while millennial philanthropy is thriving in a handful of urban markets, there is an opportunity for a local nonprofit to garner media coverage by providing a local perspective on this national data. While in some instances this will mirror a trend piece, depending on the situation, it also has the potential to become a human interest story. Just think about all of the recent stories that came out of the Boston Marathon – stories of personal triumph, philanthropic missions and more.
The bottom line to editorial coverage is this: it has to have some level of relevance and meaningfulness to the media outlet’s audience. This is where tying cause and effect together comes into play. For example, let’s say a large manufacturing company is seeking to establish a presence in your state. On the surface alone, there are several story angles that could be pursued – the impact on job growth, the environment and traffic, to name a few. While a new business opening is traditionally good for a few sentences of ink in the local media, a story that demonstrates impact has the legs to become a feature story. Again, it’s all about the packaging.
Stories with Personal Connections
Not to state the obvious, but reporters are people, too. They have passions and interests outside of their careers. They are alumni, parents, residents, pet owners, to name a few. Does your story have a personal connection that will not only pique the reporter’s interest but yield a more in-depth story than you may have gotten from working with a reporter who was less familiar with the topic?
Crafting a perfect pitch and targeting it to the right reporter is a process that requires research, creativity and persistence. For companies and causes who invest in ongoing public relations programs, these carefully crafted news stories help to increase share of voice, enhance expert positioning and generate media coverage that can help to propel email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing alike. So, we have to ask – are you ready to work with a PR agency to throw out the perfect pitch?
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