Pitching a story like lobbing a ball

Media relations isn’t about throwing a rock through the window (or in your case sending “media” a press release and hope it connects). How would you like it if people just threw stuff at you?

Media relations is about relationships. Reporters are willing to work with your small business if they feel you’ll work with them. It’s not their job to promote you. It’s their job to tell news. So that meeting with the producer/editor or reporter from the media you want is really critical. You could talk to the business reporter about new business. Perhaps your bringing jobs or a new industry into the market to diversify the economy. Those are newsworthy elements. Sometimes you may just get a one or two paragraph brief. Sometimes they may be intrigued by your product and need to know more.

Build a relationship. One way is to have that conversation to learn what’s important to the media and their audience. Another is to stay on top of their reports/stories and provide feedback–without asking for a favor or cover. Send them tidbits of information about the industry in case they might be interested.

And when you make the pitch be prepared. You don’t start on the softball team as the pitcher without practicing. Have your media release and fact sheet or other materials ready. Whether you call or send an email, be brief. Indicate your topic, the reason you think it fits their readers/viewers and what you’d suggest they cover. Three four sentences. Attach the back up material. Suggest you’ll call in a few days and follow up. You’ve lobbed the ball, now it’s their turn.

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