Unsure how to make your pitch stand out? Ready to abandon the press release? You’re not alone – public relations professionals are constantly adapting to keep up with the ever-changing media industry. The Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC) kicked off 2015 by welcoming three local journalists to share their insights on how to best pitch stories to the media. Panelists Ted Varipatis, of WCSH-TV6; Peter Van Allen, of Mainebiz; and Seth Koenig, of the Bangor Daily News discussed everything from pet peeves to story preferences.
Here are five key takeaways from January’s event, “Meet the Media and Pitch Your Story”:
- The press release is not dead: Despite much discussion in the public relations industry, the press release is still alive and well. The media values the flow of information and are often looking for stories that can be turned around quickly. As one editor put it, they need to “feed the beast.”
- Know whom you are pitching: This one sounds obvious, but it’s important to consider the outlet and individual you are pitching. Do they cover a specific subject matter? Is there a visual component? Be clear in your pitch as to what you can offer to make the coverage successful.
- Hook ‘em: What’s the hook for your pitch? Consider what makes the story unique and make it easily digestible for the media.
- Pitch the story, don’t tell it: Be careful not to write the story yourself. Reporters and editors don’t have time to read a novel; be short and sweet with three paragraphs or less.
- Start strong: Pitching begins before the email is opened and read, so be sure your subject line and headlines are strong and engaging.
Join us at the next Maine Public Relations Council professional development session on Friday, February 20 to learn about building an award-winning PR campaign. Learn more at meprcouncil.org or check out the discussion on Twitter at #MPRCEdu.
— by Jillian Kanter, Broadreach Assistant Account Executive and Communications Chair of MPRC