Ad Agencies: Write Your Own Story at CNN’s iReport

Pitching national news media can be challenging, frustrating and time consuming. Identifying and getting to the right reporter or assignment editor is tough enough, but even with a good, well-targeted story there’s still a lot of competition.

Now, you can take things into your own hands at CNN through iReport, which offers opportunities to write your own story and possibly get television network coverage.

“Welcome to iReport, where people take part in the news with CNN. Your voice, together with other iReporters, helps shape how and what CNN covers everyday,” is the way viewers are greeting upon arriving at the website.

The Assignment Desk section tells you what sources CNN is seeking at a given time, although your story can be about something entirely different.

Still, it helps to know what the network is interested in hearing about at a given time, and you at least can take some comfort in knowing the site is being monitored by people who report the news.

There also are some helpful tips about the ingredients of a good story, as well as advice about photos, videos and recording the sound of your story.

If CNN runs a story you submitted through iReport, I’d enjoy hearing about it.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Making Your Agency’s Pitch with a Pitch Letter

When there’s news to share, ad agencies usually get the word out through a news release (or press release, which is the older but more commonly recognized term).

The problem with news releases is that reporters get so many of them they can easily be overlooked. Sometimes a short, engaging pitch letter is a better way to get attention.

What is a pitch letter? It’s simply a letter sent to a media representative that tries to sell a story idea. Often the letter works fine by itself, while other times you may want to send it along with a release or media advisory (which is used when you want to invite the media to an event). It really depends on the situation.

The great thing about a pitch letter is that it’s much more personal than a news release, and it gives you an opportunity to grab a reporter’s attention with your opening sentence.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.