How exactly *should* you develop your next winning PR pitch?
The journey to media coverage starts with an original and compelling story pitch – and the right media contacts, of course. But, how, exactly, should you go about developing your pitch concepts?
It can be difficult to identify the aspects of your company, product, or service that are likely to be the most interesting to reporters and their audiences. What excites a founder, manager, or employee about their own company isn’t necessarily going to be the same thing that excites the media – or the general public.
To help, we’ve developed the following list of questions – many of which we use in our own client work – to kickstart your next PR pitch brainstorm.
1. What headline would you like to see written about your company?
Work backwards from your ideal headline, considering what information about your company might lead a reporter to write the headline you’d love to see. Use this line of thinking to develop your pitch.
2. Are there any holidays, or seasonal or cultural events that have an impact on, or relate to, your business?
How can your business – or your professional expertise – fit into stories being written about individual holidays, seasonal events and happenings (think: Black Friday, summer travel, etc.), or cultural events (think: music festivals, political elections, major conferences, etc.). Look at stories written around these events in past years to get a sense of how reporters tend to cover them.
3. How are your competitors being covered by the media?
Take a close look at how the media is covering your competitors, paying particular attention to which aspects of their businesses receive media attention. An analysis of competitor media coverage can offer insights about what reporters find interesting – and, additionally, which reporters are writing about businesses like yours.
4. What do your customers, clients, and colleagues find most valuable about your company, product, or service?
Ask those most familiar with your business about what they value most in your offerings. Why do your customers purchase your product over a competitor’s? What do your clients rely on you for the most? Why do your employees like working at your company? Answers to questions like these can offer meaningful insights about which aspects of your company, products, or services might also be most appealing to the media.
5. How does your business connect to the news of the day?
Keep up with the news – particularly news relevant to your industry. Look for opportunities to comment on the news of the day and talk with media about how your business is responding to, or impacted by, current events.
6. What trends or changes do you see ahead for your industry?
Demonstrate your industry expertise by making yourself available to talk with media about the trends or changes you see on the horizon for your industry.
7. Why should a reporter – or their audience – care about your company?
Try as best as you can to step back from your company and think objectively about why those outside of the company should care about it. This isn’t easy – but can help you pinpoint areas of your business that might be most interesting to the media and their audiences. If it’s too difficult to think objectively yourself, ask friends, family, customers, and other ‘outsiders’ about what they find most compelling about your company.
8. What media outlets or reporters do your key audiences pay attention to?
Think about what media your target audiences consume. What types of stories are being covered by these outlets and reporters? How could your business authentically fit into the type of stories these outlets and reporters are producing?
9. How can your company make its own news?
Do you have new products, programs, services, initiatives to announce? Consider stand-alone pitches you might develop around news coming out of your company. Many organizations will issue a formal press release to announce company news, but also consider unique story angles that tie into your announcement. Develop pitches around these angles.
If you'd like help with your media pitching efforts, we'd love to work with you! Reach out any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.