Throw a Better Pitch: 4 Ways to Win Over Journalists with a Helping Hand
Getting the right journalist to pick up our story may be as simple as alleviating stress points for them. A study conducted by UK agency 10 Yetis revealed some of the loves, headaches and stresses of journalists in dealing with PR pros throughout the course of their typical day.
Among the more interesting results they found were:
- 75% of UK journalists use Twitter to find stories
- 28% of US journalists said that promoting stories and getting people to comment on stories was the biggest pressure that they face
- 29% of journalists (the second largest percentage for this question) said that the biggest pressure in their day was finding stories.
So, how can we grease the wheels for our journalists?
Help Them Help Us
As mentioned, finding stories is a huge stress point for journalists. This is where a great monitoring tool can help: if we’ve taken the time to (1) research what that journalist is writing about (a good Press management tool will allow you to search retroactively by keyword to find people by their active and retroactive writing interests, and rank their influence for you), and (2) understand the conversation happening around that topic, we can hyper-target your pitch to make sure that it’s something the journalist is actively interested in writing about (for this, a social monitoring tool is extremely useful).
To take it a step further, you can send the reporters other similar, supporting articles to give them extra sources. (A good news monitoring tool will help with that.)
Make it Easy For Key Journalists to Promote Their Stories
By following our key journalists on Twitter and re-tweeting their stories, we’re helping them out – but we can take it a step further. If we do a little social listening to see who else out there is writing about the topics they are, we can tweet those articles at them for story ideas (don’t be annoying – just be useful). We can also find other people RT’ing the original story, and RT those. If we set up a social search that tells us when that journalist is tweeting about something that relates to our industry, well, a little paying-it-forward even when we’re not mentioned helps them out.
Use Twitter to Tie Our Story to Trending Topics
If our story honestly has a strong link to something that’s already being discussed, joining in that conversation helps put us in front of the right journalist at the right time. This is helpful to journalists if we actually have something useful to add to the conversation; if we don’t, we’re helping them by not adding to the noise.
Keep Our Corporate Blogs Up-to-Date with Content & Positioning
We recently published an article about social PR and journalists depending on blogs, and this study found the same thing: journalists across the board referenced company blogs as being in the top 4 places that they would go when trying to get further information about a business.
(via 10 Yetis, UK)*
Informing our pitching efforts to this extent does require a monitoring tool that has both a wide breadth of data sources (our own media management tool, for example, has the largest blog source base in the existence with 30M+ blogs in it), and the ability to find exactly what we need in all those data sources (more importantly, our tools have the ability to hypertarget the right journalist). Superhuman, we are not… but hey, Iron Man had to build his own suit.
* Research survey based on 2,600 journalists in 4 countries (France, Germany, UK, US) over a 5-week timeframe. (data via 10 Yetis)