The Top 5 PR Do’s and Don’ts, According to Industry Insiders

Have you ever wondered why your PR pitch just wasn’t hitting with journalists? Did you click “Refresh” on your email multiple times, hoping for some reporter to bite?

We’ve all been there. We’ve had out-of-the-ballpark hits and definitely some misses. But after learning from some industry insiders, journalists, and news producers about what makes them want to cover a story, we wanted to share their insight with you. Hopefully, you can make a few little tweaks to your existing pitches to really make them stand out from the crowd and more likely to get a follow-up.

1. DON’T send the same release to every reporter.

What does the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, and USA Today have in common? They are all highly coveted places to land a PR pitch. However, you are hurting your chances of getting a follow up if you send the same pitch to multiple people.

Know your audience: The Today Show would need more visually interesting storytelling and has great human interest segments. The Wall Street Journal is more financial-minded and would be more likely to cover prolific business leaders, industry innovations, and financial information. Knowing who you are pitching to and how that story would impact their audience is crucial to a successful PR pitch.

2. DO piggyback off breaking news.

A surefire way to get an immediate response from a reporter or news outlet is to have your pitch piggyback off of a breaking news piece. For example, are you pitching a story about new medical equipment and how that equipment is improving lives? That story can be tied in with the ongoing healthcare debate. Using breaking news as an angle is effective because your pitch becomes time-sensitive and newsworthy.

3. DO tell a compelling story.

Human interest pieces are popular for a reason. They tell compelling stories about extraordinary people in our communities. They tug at heartstrings and connect you with your own neighborhood.

If you’re throwing an event or launching a product, this method is way more likely to get responses for a few reasons. One, journalists don’t like to create ads for companies, they like to tell cool and interesting stories that will connect with their readers. Secondly, an engaging human interest piece will make your product or event way more memorable to readers than any product information or event details you could throw at them.

4. DON’T only give one angle.

Believe it or not, getting a reporter interested in a story is not the last step before they write it. Usually, the reporter or media personnel will have to pitch it to their beat editor or news editor. You aren’t just convincing a reporter, you are convincing the staff of the paper or the news program to give up valuable airtime and column inches for your story. The best way to do that is to give multiple angles.

5. DO stay on their radar.

Perhaps your story wasn’t a great fit this time around. Maybe there were other breaking news stories taking up airwaves and column space or it was just the wrong fit for the publication or media channel. Either way, make contacts with local reporters and stay connected. This way, if they need a quote from an industry expert that would be perfect for your client, they can keep you in mind. Also, once you get to know them a little better and understand their work it’s easier to assume what angle they will appreciate best or the perfect way to pitch a story to them.

We hope these tips and tricks helped you understand how to pitch your press release or story perfectly. For more information like this, don’t forget to like us on Facebook!