Whether you’re representing a client or your own agency, good relationships with reporters will help you communicate with important audiences and tell your side of the story in a cost-effective manner.
If you want to know which stories a reporter is interested in covering, ask him/her—just make sure the reporter isn’t on deadline. I’ve found reporters with industry trade publications to be especially helpful in sharing topics of interest to them. Of course, it helps to research the particular media outlet you’re pitching, and make sure you understand its audience and focus, before speaking with a reporter or editor.
Researching a reporter’s past stories on the Internet is another way to learn about his or her interests, writing style and possibly even certain biases.
Having that information helps you craft a targeted pitch so that you don’t waste your time—or the reporter’s time.
For consumer media, a local story that ties in with a national issue or trend is particularly appealing.
Here are some of the factors news media use to determine the value of news:
- Consequence to readers/viewers
- Prominence of individual/organization
- Proximity to the area served
- Human interest
- Consumer trends
- Novelty or unusualness of the story
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.