You want to try various ways to interest the media. But you want to make sure your approaches are appropriate. The following are two public relations secrets to try. One, using data and statistics in your pitch, just about anyone can use, you just have to get creative, the other, offering the media an exclusive, is a bit more specific, but if and when you can use it can be a powerful public relations tool, as long as you follow the rules.
1) The media loves data, numbers, statistics and anything that will make a story seem weightier and more concrete. So, your job is to come up with some unique data and statistics and tie it into your pitch (or pitches). If you can offer the media information and data that is unique, you’ve got a great chance at piquing their interest. People love statistics and so do the media. Statistics (percentages and numbers) seem real, whether they are or not. Stats are great to offer to producers, writers, editors, bloggers & media outlets. It gives them a hook, something to work with. They can use your stats and then your quotes to come up with interesting, off beat and fun sound-bites, articles, and segments. Using statistics in your pitches is an excellent way to give an editor or producer a good media hook, and garner media coverage for you and your company.
2) If you have information that is truly unique, contact some targeted media outlets and offer to give them an exclusive. I hesitate to add this, because for that approach to work your story and pitch truly has to be newsworthy. If you call a top mainstream media editor or producer and offer an exclusive about a new product or service you’re pitching, you’re not only going to be wasting your time and their time, you’re going to alienate them. Chances are when you try your next pitch; they’re going to ignore it thinking you don’t understand what real news is.
In the real world, you’re seldom going to be in a position to offer an exclusive. Those generally revolve around breaking news, celebrity news, politics, crime, etc. But if you do hit on a story of that importance and offer an exclusive, you are honor bound to stick to it. Don’t offer an exclusive to 60 Minutes and then turn around and offer the story to a network morning show. I use that example, because several years ago, that’s exactly what happened to me. I offered 60 Minutes an exclusive, they accepted and then unbeknownst to me or the 60 Minutes producer, the client was contacted by a producer at one of the national morning shows, and without letting me know until after the fact, the client went on the program before 60 Minutes had aired its segment.
Needless to say, the 60 Minutes producer and I were livid. That is not the way media or PR works. If you break trust, it’s very hard to establish it again. So, if you ever are in a situation to offer an exclusive, think long and hard about what outlet would be the best one to offer the story to. Which outlets best meet your objectives via readership and target market? Once you’ve decided, make the offer. If it’s accepted, you are duty bound to honor it. Once the story breaks you can take it to other outlets, but until then, put on the breaks, Hold back and wait until the story has aired or been published before talking to any other media outlets about it.
As I mentioned at the beginning, nearly anyone can use the data and statistic approach, so get creative and see what type of pitches you can come up with. As to the exclusive, you only want to use that approach when it’s truly appropriate, a new product or grand opening does not qualify. But, if and when you do come up with a story that warrants an exclusive, don’t be shy to go that route.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012
“Average amount of media used per day.” Photo. BBC. 19 Aug 2010. 13 Apr 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11012356>
Gaskell, Adi. “People don’t use social media at work to talk shop.” Photo. Technorati. 13 Apr 2012. 13 Apr. 2012. <http://technorati.com/social-media/article/people-dont-use-social-media-at/>