6 Ways to Connect with a Journalist
If you ask any journalist what question they hear all the time, they probably will tell you: \”How can I get coverage in your newspaper or on blog?\” As a publicist, I get the same question all the time. The answer? You need to get their attention. And you need to get it with a good story.
If you own a business, or manage a business and or communications department and want to get the press coverage you\’ve dreamed of, here are some things you may want to start doing —
1. Be a Story Teller
When pitching your idea or product to the media, it’s important to remember they have zero desire to read an advertisement. Instead, try to create a story with an introduction, middle and end. If you talk about your product or service as a story, it can keep the journalist interested.
So for instance, you could say: \”One morning, I woke up with cold feet. Even though I was wearing socks, they didn\’t do the trick. Well, this made me think of my new product — sleeping heat socks.\” When creating your story, be short, concise and make it interesting. Extra points for highlighting the tribe of people you are solving a problem for.
2. Be New
If you plan on opening a store in town, what\’s going to make yours different from the others? While it\’s okay to create this new store, what is going to make you stand out above the rest? Journalists don\’t want to write about the same old boring concept that has been done a million times over. In addition to being new, you need to add a new spin, new solution, new merchandise – pile on the new. The news is literally the word “new” with an “s” because it’s highlighting lots of new things. Let one of those things be you!
3. Be Weird
On the Internet and in life, weird sells. Like being new and unique, think of something that will get people talking. Don’t be afraid to let your weird streak out for a wiggle, it’s welcomed and can bring you and your business some great results when done with class, respect and flair.
4. Be Emotional
The public loves to read stories that tug on their heartstrings. If you\’re donating money to charity or doing something good in general, let the public know about it. So if you were to donate 15 percent of your sales on a particular day to a particular cause, let the journalists know! Adopt a charity and let people know why you and your business are passionate about it.
It\’s important that your charitable efforts align with your business or passions in some deep, honorable way, it can’t be random or hack. Be unique about it. While it\’s great to give away 15 percent of your sales, maybe you could say you will only do it if certain conditions are met. Encourage many to participate and wear your heart loud and proud as you champion these efforts.
5. Be Trendy
Try to think of what\’s hot in the news today. If you can make your story relate to trending events, then you may have a better chance of connecting with a journalist.
For instance, if the economy was doing poor, you could relate your product to the economy and how it can help. On the other hand, if a celebrity is in the news for an embarrassing incident, you could potentially capitalize on it. And don’t forget about the season – back to school time for instance is a great time for financial planners to discuss items such as “100 Ways Parents Can Save 100 dollars more per week for college.” You get the idea. Check a calendar, check trends on twitter, check the front page of the newspaper for inspiration.
6. Be Shocking
While it\’s a gamble, don\’t be afraid to reach out there and make people say, \”Wow!\”? What the heck?!” Try to think of something that people would be talking about for weeks ahead. You don\’t want to offend people or hurt your reputation in the process, but there’s space for controversy and contradiction in every news story. If it\’s done right, this is an amazing way to generate media from around the globe.
Journalists are human beings, and if they have the right story sent to their inbox, they will generally be happy to learn more about it. By following the tips mentioned above, you can greatly increase your chances of getting press coverage in local, regional and even national media. If you need our help, feel free to reach out, we\’re here to serve. We\’re Black Ink PR, we believe great stories bring great results. We like making journalists and humans happy.