The secret of pitching a story

#SillySeasonPR #9

The secret of pitching a story #SillySeasonPR

The secret of pitching a story

One week I wrote newspaper articles about a new financial services company, a new shop with a community mission, a business celebrating a 30-year anniversary and a business exporting high quality, hi-tech products.

How did these businesses pitch their stories?

  1. Email to the newsdesk
  2. Press release sent to the newspaper
  3. Facebook message direct to journalist
  4. Information given on a factory tour

What’s the best way to pitch your story?

The one that works.

Seriously, there are many ways to pitch a story and they all work for some people and don’t work for lots of other people.

The challenge is to find the way of pitching that works for your story, for you and the journalist you are targeting.

Be prepared

However you pitch your story, it’s essential that your pitch:

  • is short and punchy
  • is easy to understand
  • excites the person you are approaching

and, most importantly,

  • lets the story tell itself

Of course, your story does need to be interesting and exciting in order to do all this.

On my factory tour, it was a few simple facts about the company’s achievements that impressed me – no sales pitch, no boasts – just plain facts that spoke for themselves and made me think: “I want to write about that.”

Don’t wind journalists up

Sometimes people try to tell journalists what to do, what angle to take and insist that they visit to interview a senior person. This is not a good idea. It’s one thing to make suggestions, but another to tell journalists what to do in their own publication. Understandably, journalists get annoyed when this happens.

Invite rather than demand. Suggest rather than insist.

Let your business speak for itself

Surprisingly, many businesses talk about themselves without actually saying what they do or what they achieve.

When you pitch a story, show round a journalist or just talk about about your business, your message needs to be clear and straightforward. Don’t waffle or go into needless background that tires your listener or makes them want to end the conversation.

Don’t worry needlessly about how you contact a journalist, because if you get the pitch right, your story will sell itself.

Your #SillySeasonPR #9 task is to think of how to pitch your story in a few words that will make the listener ask to hear more. Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: ? Visit to find out

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business.

 

Three stories waiting to be deciphered

Press releases work best when there is a clear focus on one story. From the headline and the first sentence you know what it’s about.

Sometimes I receive press releases with no clear story or three little stories or even no story. I’ve even had press releases passed to me by colleagues with the comment: “I think there’s a story in there somewhere.”

You have to work hard to figure it out and if it’s not obvious, you give up, which wastes the effort of writing the press release.

If you have three stories, write three press releases to get maximum coverage. If they’re crammed into one article, you’ll lose the impact and, if it does get published, no one will realise what it’s really about.

You could also find that different stories appeal to different segments of your target audience. So you could send one story to publications for one segment and another story to publications aimed at a different group.

Good stories are valuable. Don’t waste them.

Tell a spellbinding story

Tell a spellbinding story with your press release

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Everyone enjoys a good story. Stories are the best way for businesses to get their messages across to customers.

As a business journalist, I often get people calling me saying they’ve started a new business with no idea of what to say about it. I’m always interested in why someone starts a business, especially in these tough times, so I ask them what inspired them.

This simple question is often the key to unlocking the story of their business. They tell me about their life, the barriers they’ve come up against, their dreams and how they’ve pursued them, and a lot more.

Suddenly, they’ve gone from being just someone who’s opened another business to someone with an interesting story. It usually says a lot about their business too, revealing their ethos and how they operate.

Not all journalists are ready to put the work in to discover the story, so it’s good to discover your own story and tell it for yourself.

What drives you to run your business? What has happened along the way? What thoughts struck you so you decided to make your business that bit different from everyone else?

Capture the imagination of your audience as you tell the story of your journey to success.

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