One of the challenges and joys of working in PR is developing fresh story angles and pitch ideas that resonate with news desks and local reporters. While sending out an email pitch about a new client initiative or campaign is one way to gauge media interest, there’s other strategies you can use to accomplish the same thing.
Three creative ways you can connect your client to the media is to newsjack and locate story opportunities using sourcing services like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and online news platforms like Google Alerts.
Newsjacking is defined as the art of injecting your ideas into breaking news stories so that you/your client can be noticed or brought in as a subject matter expert on a specific topic related to their industry. Depending on the topic and public interest, a breaking news stories popularity can last a few hours or a few weeks. The best time to try to insert your client in the news is between the time the news breaks and when journalists are searching for additional information and experts to speak on the topic.
If you’re able to offer your clients perspective on a local or national topic/issue that’s relevant to your client, you’ll have a good chance of grabbing media attention and securing coverage while the story is still building.
HARO is a popular service that connects journalists and bloggers with expert sources so that they can meet their deadlines. It allows you to find topics related to your client’s industry or expertise and pitch the reporters who are writing about those topics.
For our client Tarrant County College, we were able to successfully secure news coverage locally (Channel 8 News, FOX 4) and nationally (FOX News Channel: FOX & Friends) by offering our clients up as subject matter experts to speak on topics such as student debt, the demand for post-secondary education and training, and the need for more nurses in Texas and the U.S.
Research plays a key role when you’re trying develop ways to insert your client in the news.
Online tools like Google Alerts make it easier to monitor the news that’s happening around your client, their industry and their competitors. The best thing about it is that it shows you which reporters are covering that topic locally and nationally. From there all you need to do is send those reporters a pitch around a relevant topic idea related to their news beats.
What strategies have you used in the past to garner media interest and coverage? I’d love to hearing your thoughts. Let’s start a conversation.