When I was reporter, the pressure was always on to find a great story. I also had my typical beats, which were town news and schools. I had to check out the police and fire reports. I had to cover town council and school committee meetings. And I had to turn in stories every day. On top of that, we were expected to write a more significant news piece each week and cover breaking news. I had daily meetings with my section editor, weekly meetings with the big editors and nightly run-ins with the copy editors.
So I know first-hand that the media works long and erratic hours, their resources are slim and the pressure is high. If you’re a coach or consultant who wants to get the media’s attention, here are some insider tips that will get you mileage with the media.
Be respectful of their time.
Figure out their deadline and DO NOT call them then. Reporters will actually pick up the phone during this time because they are waiting for sources to get back them. They do not want to hear a new pitch. Contact them mid-morning or mid-day when there’s more of a chance someone will take your call or see your email and be receptive to it.
When I was pitching TV producers, a lot of times I wouldn’t even tell them my name. I would simply say “Hi, I have an idea for your money segment” or whatever it was and then I’d go into my pitch . . . which was usually about a sentence or two. If they like your idea, trust me, they’ll ask for more details.
You want to know your pitch and message forward and backward … and you want to be brief to get the media’s attention. You also want to be prepared ahead of time so that when they ask for more details, it’s at your fingertips. This is where your press materials come in handy. Have important facts in front of you. Be ready to share a fact sheet, press release, media advisory or FAQs with the media if they ask for it. If you can, offer to connect them with a client or another source. If you have images and video (they call it b-roll), they can use to enhance the story, let them know. Overnight a copy of your book if you have one. You might be surprised just how much you can drive the story when you are prepared.
If you’re unsure of how to approach the media or you’ve been disappointed with the results, try thinking like the media and let me know what happens. Or if you’ve got an urgent message you need to get out to the world NOW, click here and let’s talk about what it’s going to turn you into a media star.
If you could only pick one show, publication or blog to be featured in, what would it be? Have you ever pitched that outlet? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments :).