How to Pitch a Story to Local Media

How to Pitch a Story to Local Media

Whether you have breaking news or want to publicize an event, pitching a story to local media is a great way to promote your cause. Newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations count on receiving pitches. They’re often flooded with pitches, though, so take the time to make yours really shine.

Research the media outlets in your area. Make a complete list of the publications and broadcast stations that might be interested in covering your story.

Visit local media websites to obtain a good idea of which reporters cover the topic you are pitching. For example, if you want to pitch a story about your dog rescue organization’s adoption day, it would be smart to send the pitch to a reporter who has recently done a story on animal shelters.

Ask yourself questions about your pitch, so that you’ll be prepared to answer similar questions from the reporters you contact. Be prepared to explain why your topic or event is newsworthy and how it’s different from topics or events the media outlet has covered in the past.

Send a press release. By mailing, faxing or emailing the press release before you call with your pitch, you’re giving the reporter a chance to read up on the issue or event. This is both courteous and effective.

Call members of the media a week or two before your event, if possible. Media outlets, particularly magazines and newspapers, schedule their coverage days or even weeks in advance. If you have breaking news, direct it toward a daily newspaper, a radio station or a television station.

Sell the reporter on your idea. She receives pitches all of the time, so make sure yours stands out. Be thoroughly informed about the topic before you pick up the phone, and offer to put the reporter in touch with leaders and experts from your organization.

Give the reporter your contact information and assure him that he can contact you any time. When you establish a good relationship with a reporter, he is likely to get in touch with you about future issues and events.

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