How can you get your story picked up by the media? The best answers to that question come from the producers, editors and journalists who decide which stories get coverage. Here are some of the best tips I have gotten from these experts.
Be familiar with the show/publication. Your pitch should be about how your story will work for them. Don’t do a general pitch (“A story about dog training.”) but suggest the segment the story would be right for, or what makes it right for them.
Don’t take “no” personally. It may be that they have just done a similar story, or they can’t fit it in, or it just isn’t right for them. If you speak with someone, ask if they can suggest another show or publication where the story might work.
If at first you don’t succeed, pitch again. But wait at least a month or two, and come back with a different angle, not exactly the same idea that got turned down.
Many now prefer e-mail pitches to fax. It is fast to review, and can be easily forwarded to several others. Faxes often pile up unread, but e-mail gets read.
Keep your e-mail short and to the point. DO NOT send any attachments, as they will be deleted unopened (if they get through at all). You can include a link to your Web site or online media kit where more information is available.
When you e-mail, make your subject line enticing. Using “Hi!” or something else that looks like spam will get it deleted without being read. Start with QUERY: or PITCH: then give a short, punchy headline.
One national TV show producer said that you didn’t need to send video with your initial (mail) pitch, another said if you mailed a pitch with no video you wouldn’t be considered. In either case, you will need a video of other TV appearances before you get on a national show, so be on the safe side and send it.
Local media are always looking for local experts to interview on a variety of topics. Send them your bio and credentials and they will keep you on file for the next time they need an expert in your field.
Remember that the media do not exist to give you free publicity. They are there to inform, educate and entertain their readers, listeners and viewers. Help them do that, and you will have many publicity opportunities.