Despite being known for our illustrious year-round sunshine, we are now in the heart of the Southwest Florida rainy season. Much like we receive heavy rain showers day after day, journalists too experience their own form of a downpour. Except, instead of rain, they are flooded with emails. Hundreds upon hundreds of emails.
If you’re like most individuals sharing a story, you’ve sent one (or more) of those many emails in hopes of catching a reporter’s eye. You might be crossing your fingers for a long while if you’re waiting for your lucky break. To make it through the clutter, it requires a great story and an informed strategy.
Does your appeal for coverage meet these reporter-provided requests?
Sharing the RIGHT news with the WRONG person does you no good.
Before you start emailing your story idea or news release, consider who will be most interested in your pitch. Does this reporter typically cover your topic, or could someone else be more inclined to run with the story? Research who would be the most effective person to contact and direct your work to them. Consider the industry and locality of your story, as well as the journalist’s target demographic and upcoming content plans.
Speak at the right time, or you could get lost in the mix.
What may be top news for you today may not matter to a reporter until the next week (or month). To keep your message from being another note in the pile, deliver it when the reporter needs it most. This could be 1 month, 2 weeks, or even the day before your event depending on what media you’re reaching out to. Submit when it’s most valuable for them, on their timeline. How will you know what that is? Simple…just ask!
Tell your story in the subject line.
Have you ever opened an email to realize the subject line deceived you? It’s not a great feeling, and certainly not a way to build great rapport with the media. While you’ll want to produce an eye-catching subject, be mindful to keep it as factual, concise and direct as possible.
Be a familiar name in their inbox.
If you’ve not begun building a relationship with your key media contacts, now is a great time to start. Once you are known as a resource – as the go-to source for information on any given topic – you are more likely to break through the “million and one” messages that appear in a reporter’s inbox. In fact, you may even be called upon for a story or more information! While these relationships take time to build, the investment is one that benefits your organization and the media.