From a PR perspective, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from being a magazine editor was that a story is only a good story if it meets the media’s needs. For example, I’d receive hundreds of pitches from public relations representatives and publicists and although a number of the pitches were good, I’d say no to most of them. Why? They didn’t meet my reader’s needs. They might have been great story ideas, but if they didn’t resonate with my readers and my particular target market, I wasn’t interested. So how does this apply to you? When pitching your story to the media you have to understand that you need to tailor your pitch to each particular media outlet. You need to be able to make that editor, writer or producer understand why the story you’re pitching is perfect for him or her. To succeed, it’s important that you develop a number of different angles to pitch to the various TV shows, magazines and newspapers.
Each media outlet has its particular needs and interests. For example, if you want to successfully place a story, don’t send the exact same pitch to the Wall Street Journal that you you’re sending to Ladies Home Journal or Maxim. You could pitch the same basic story to each of those, but you’d definitely need a different pitch, angle, or approach. The primary secret to implementing a successful public relations campaign is to tailor your pitches so that they meet the various needs of each outlet you’re approaching. It’s important to develop a number of different angles to present to the various media outlets. Make sure your pitches are appropriate. Don’t pitch a finance writer a sports story. You might have a great story, but it won’t work. Unless, and here’s where modifying your pitch comes in, you can pitch a story on sports and finance and how you can address that topic.
Start by developing your main story. That will serve as your framework, your overall structure. Now modify the pitch so that you can target each media outlet magazine. You might just need to tweak your pitch a bit to meet the needs of the various outlets. It doesn’t generally require a major overhaul. Don’t always focus on the obvious story. Study the various angles and approaches. For example, is there a trend story you can connect your product or service to? Is there a transformational story you can tell? What is your business angle? How about a holiday story or a seasonal angle? There are a number of approaches you can take to creating different angles and pitches.
Study the media you’re pitching; understand their needs and the type of stories they run. Develop compelling pitches that meet their needs and you’re set to launch an effective PR campaign.
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