By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
No matter what industry you’re in, you’re bound to get some frequently asked questions about what you do. In our business, it’s inevitable that someone will ask: Why won’t the news media cover my story? Why? Here my top five answers (which often start out as questions):
- Does your pitch or release contain the necessary information, including the obvious who, what, where, when and why? If a reporter wants more information but can’t contact you, they’ll move on to something else. (Hint: If it’s a weekend or evening, include your cell phone number.)
- Have you personalized the pitch or release for the type of media or reporter you are contacting? Radio doesn’t care if there are great visuals, but if you’re pitching something to TV, you better have a strong visual component. Don’t pitch a feature story about education to a business reporter. Know who you’re pitching before you contact them. A little research goes a long way.
- Is there a reason for them to care? Why will their readers, viewers or listeners care about your story or the expertise you’re offering? Give them a reason to care and you increase your chances of getting coverage.
- It sounds like you’re selling something. Trying to get the news media to cover your story when all you’re doing is trying to sell something (and it’s obvious, believe me) is a sure fire way to have them ignore you. Sell your expertise, not a product or promotion.
- What else is going on at that time? There may be a major news story they are following/covering that day or week. Sometimes, even the best stories are passed up because there’s something else going on. It happens.
I’m sure there are other answers to the question “Why won’t the media cover my story,” and I would love to hear your thoughts about it. What has your experience been with pitching the media? If you’re a reporter, what is likely to get tossed without you thinking twice?