Tips and Tricks For Catching the Eye of a Journalist

For a PR practitioner, your most important skillset is your ability to catch the attention of a journalist. To be featured in widely-read newspapers and columns is the hallmark of a successful company with a distinct brand identity. How can you enthral a journalist quickly with your pitch?

Newsworthiness

A journalist’s bread-and-butter is breaking news. Newsworthiness is the key element that look out for in every pitch. What makes your story news?

Timeliness

As the name suggests, news requires your pitch to be about something relevant and timely. Your pitch needs to be current, and it needs to say something about the current. It needs to be different and speak to what’s on everybody’s minds. For example, relate your pitch to recent world events, national milestones, or contemporary global issues. Right now, journalists are eager to read pieces about Covid-19 as it is weighing on everybody’s minds.

Prominence

Another way to keep it newsworthy is by highlighting what is prominent about your pitch. If your pitch is about a celebrity or a well-known company, that’s a great way to attract a journalist to pick your pitch. Otherwise, linking your news to something said by an expert or a prominent person is another way to make your content something a journalist would be interested in featuring.

Proximity

If your neighbour’s home catches fire, you will probably be more concerned than any other households in the same building – it’s a no brainer. The same is true for journalists. One who covers Thailand probably won’t be bothered by what’s happening in Germany or Moscow. When you pitch a story, make sure you pitch the journalist that covers that area first.

Significance

You should also be aware of the journalist’s context. Who are the primary readers of the editorial you’re submitting to? Why should the journalist’s readers matter? Honing down the significance of your piece and finding out its “so what?” is probably the most important way to seal the deal.

Conflict

Never underestimate the power of conflict. Readers love to read a challenge or about two opposing views. When you locate your pitch in context of bigger conflicts, they will be enticed to read your piece and understand more about the situation. Challenging a dominant view is also a great way to generate clicks and read-throughs.

Uniqueness

If your pitch isn’t pressing or urgent, you need to find another angle. One such angle is by highlighting what is unique about your pitch. Take an unexpected route to pitching your idea, and you might find success. Journalists love to read and share about ideas that keep people talking, and it is the unusual that will stay in people’s minds. This will be the selling point of a good article – something fresh and innovative.

Human interest

Finally, do not forget about the importance of keeping your pitch focused on the human aspect. You can highlight how the piece you are selling relates to the common man by putting a face and name on an abstract concept and humanizing it. Featuring testimonials, interviews, or quotes from satisfied customers is a great way to keep your pitch real and down-to-earth. People want to read about people.

Demonstrate that your piece affects people; demonstrate that your piece affects readers.

When you have mastered all these, you will be able to pitch any stories to win.

 

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project