Last week we talked about some of the differences between Consumer and Trade media. If you’ve ever pitched a story idea to a reporter by phone, you know how hard it can be to succeed. Today we want to share 7 things to consider when you are pitching to the media:
- Conflict: Reporters are professional storytellers, and good stories have conflict. If you disagree with a competitor’s approach, for example, you’re more likely to receive coverage than if you agree.
- Incident: Anything that goes wrong has the potential to become newsworthy, such as an industrial explosion, a car crash, or a school shooting.
- Timely and Relevant: Timely stories, often about an upcoming event, are often considered newsworthy, as are stories relevant to the news organization’s specialty. A Toronto-area real estate journal will consider a story about next week’s annual gathering of local real estate pros newsworthy, but the Toronto Star probably won’t.
- New: It’s no coincidence that the word “news” contains the word “new.” News stories have to answer the question, “why now?” Stories that don’t are considered “old news” and usually receive little coverage.
- Scandal: The political who hides money in his closet, the hedge fund manager who rips off his clients, and the music mogul who murders his companion are almost guaranteed to be deemed newsworthy.
- Surprising: Stories with an unexpected hook are candy to reporters. If your study discovers that fried foods have previously undiscovered health benefits, you can bet the media will lavish your work with coverage. That story, incidentally, would also make me very happy.
- Local: Most news organizations cover a specific geographic range. A newspaper in Iowa may report on a local charity event, but is unlikely to report on a new office tower development in Toronto.