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The Purpose Pitch

There is an art to the art of pitching a story to the media. It sounds easy enough – send an email, troll around on social media or (yikes!) pick up the phone – but the reality is far different.

In an era of multi-media ownership groups and media partnerships with events and organizations, it’s hard to know what coverage is earned and what (…wink, wink…) shows up as the result of an agreement with a media company.

Here are three keys to pitching a story to the media:

  • Be sure the content of your pitch is substantive and meaningful – and that there is a benefit to the reading/viewing/listening audience
  • Do your homework about the media you are pitching; know their deadlines and be ready to contact them in the manner they prefer
  • Provide support with photos, logos and sources (outside of your organization) whom the media can speak to

It goes without saying – but I’ll say it – that it helps to have a public relations professional in your corner. A PR pro has spent his career cultivating media contacts and knows to hit all of the key points (and more!) outlined above.

It’s also the job of a PR pro to tell the client when something is simply not newsworthy. It is tough advice to deliver, tough advice to hear – but heed the advice of a professional the way you would a doctor (okay, maybe that’s a bad example).

You have 60 seconds on radio to deliver a message, then the listener is going to change the channel. On television, most stories are two to three minutes because that’s how long people will pay attention. In print…well, it’s print. Who still reads a newspaper? How your content fits with a newspaper’s online version and their website video is as important – or more important- than what goes in the paper.

It’s a mad, mad, mad media world out there today. If you’re going to pitch the media, make it a good one – a purposeful pitch.