Is it a story? Tips on how to pitch your message to the media

Is it a story? Tips on how to pitch your message to the media

Journalists take calls every day for story pitches – from public relations companies and from the public.

Some pitches grab the journalist’s attention and lead to a story being published in a newspaper or magazine, or featured on the radio or television. Other pitches get a polite – or occasionally more abrupt – refusal.

The trick for any business or individual keen on getting their story told is to suss out whether your pitch is actually newsworthy.

Here are some tips to help you pitch your story:

First things first – understand the media organisation you’re pitching to. If you want to let audiences know that you’ve just launched your new small bread-making business, chances are it won’t get picked up by the New Zealand Herald. But it might be of interest to your local community newspaper.

Remember that every media outlet has a specific audience – if your story fits within that audience, there could be a place for it in the news.

Pick your timing. Topics that are current or relevant to a wider issue that’s featuring in the news are more likely to get coverage.

Consider how significant your story is. How many people will it affect? What effects will it have on these people?

Seize on opportunities that feature prominent people. Got a celebrity involved in/endorsing/interested in what you’re doing? Media love celebs just as much as celebs love the media.

Be on the look out for human interest angles. Appealing to our emotions, human interest stories can often disregard all the normal rules of what makes a story ‘news’.

Think about photos. If you’ve got an epic photograph that is worthy of sharing, chances are media will be interested.

And if you’re still not sure, you can always get professional help. At Scope Media, deciding if a story is newsworthy comes second nature to us. Give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss your story with you and how best to get your message out.

Written by Celia Crosbie

Celia is an award-winning journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.

@CELIACROSBIE