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If you want to stand out online and get recognized as an influential brand, learning how to get featured in top-tier media is something that should perk your ears up. But, here’s the truth that only Millennials and Gen-Z’s want to hear: trends are everything.
In case you’re near surrendering to not being a cool kid in the know, there is hope. These trends aren’t about what the “trendiest” people are wearing. They’re about what’s happening in your audience’s lives and what they’re talking about.
If you do not pay attention to the events that impact your audience, you’ll miss out on prime opportunities to catch their attention and deepen your connection with them… even if these events seem unrelated to your message and brand.
To give you an idea, my agency recently had a client in the relationship coaching niche who was looking to get featured in popular media in the UK.
The challenge was this: the talk of the town was the evolving economic crisis — and relationship advice wasn’t exactly high up on the agenda. We knew all about relationship building and staying relevant, but we had to freshen up our approach.
Keep reading to discover the five steps my PR agency used to pitch ideas to journalists and get our client featured in top-tier media — even at an unlikely time, and how you can, too.
1. Knowledge is power: use it
Before you consider reaching out to a journalist, be sure to power up with knowledge and get inspired.
To strike the eye of a top journalist, you need to know what they’re talking about, their interests and what is already snapping their attention. That way, you’ll be able to identify journalists who are a good fit for you, build genuine relationships and pitch accordingly.
For insight into the mind of a journalist, do this:
- Look through priority media and social media to assess trending topics.
- Find journalists on social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and pay attention to what they’re posting and engaging in.
- Look out for journalists’ requests. This will tell you the type of stories they want to see in upcoming pitches — without the guesswork.
At the time of writing this article, the world has just heard of Queen Elizabeth’s death. As you may imagine, this will be a top headline topic for a while — a great example of a trending topic to pay attention to.
2. Make your pitch-list
Bring it back to basics with the foundations of building relationships — after all, it’s what we do best in PR, right?
Once you know what journalists’ interests are, you’ll be able to filter those that are a good fit for you and vice versa. Make a list of journalists you’d like to pitch to, then build those relationships.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: personal conversations and a focus on genuinely connecting will help you stand out in a world of cold, scripted pitches. It takes time, but it’s worth it.
3. Snap up interesting stories and get creative
When my team and I were scanning priority media for our client, we noticed that the rise in house pricing was a trending topic. To put together a powerful pitch, we had to develop a unique angle by creatively linking topics deemed unrelated.
In this case, we leaned into the relevance of money issues with conflict and separation in relationships — tieing in relationships with the recession.
Create a list of trending topics and stories that interest you, your audience, and journalists. Do any further research you need, then get those creative juices flowing to establish an original angle.
4. Don’t miss the key ingredients of an irresistible pitch
Unfortunately, in a competitive market, it takes more than a trending topic and a creative angle to pique the interest of a top journalist.
The good news? My team recently had the opportunity to receive feedback from a journalist who shared her insider tips on how to write a powerful pitch.
One fundamental tip to help you give your pitch more layers and entice journalists is to include statistics, specific facts and personal stories. Sharing real-life stories about how the recession had affected people’s relationships in our pitch was what made it more relatable, reliable and attractive.
5. You can’t play if you’re not on the field
This is where those solid relationships pay off. You know which journalists are looking for what, and now it’s show time. Get your pitch out from the shadows.
Journalists’ social media platforms are a great place to request to get your pitch read. LinkedIn and Twitter are often my go-to’s. You can also go to platforms where journalists ask questions to experts, like helpareporter.com (also known as ‘HARO’).
Don’t worry if your pitch doesn’t get accepted. Seek feedback and continue to connect with other journalists who may even be a better fit for you.