Don’t ‘Pitch’ Stories to the Media; Be a Problem Solver
- by: Hank Berkowitz
- July 22, 2020
“According to” are two of the most powerful words in credibility marketing. So, why do we make it so difficult on ourselves?
As a former financial journalist, I can’t tell you how many times some well-intentioned PR person pitched me a story that was completely wrong for our audience. She hadn’t taken the time to see what our readers really care about or he hadn’t even bothered to check out my most recent articles.
It’s not that hard. Just check out the advertising media kit for reader demographics and job titles. Just search the journalist’s name and relevant keywords on Google or the media outlet’s search engine to scan their recent articles.
I know you’re really busy, but you can assign a few of your junior staffers or interns to do some of this basic due diligence on a small number or targeted journalists, bloggers and media outlets in which you’d like to appear. You don’t just want to show the journalist you’ve done your “homework”—you want to show them how you and your colleagues can solve a problem for the journalist by giving them one less hot story idea to come up with on their own and one less reliable source they have to track down for a compelling interview.
Crowdsourcing comes to journalism
There’s no substitute for doing the legwork described above, but you can also sign up for a number of free or low-cost services that tell you which stories certain journalists are working on in real-time. I recommend using both approaches.
My BlogU, Kiti (formerly Media Kitty), HARO (Help A Reporter Out), Source Bottle and Radio Guest List, among others are pretty solid. Just remember that journalists are often working on VERY tight deadline and you’ll be competing with lots of other “talent wranglers” to get your firm and interview. You’ll need to respond VERY quickly and be spot on with your pitch. Some of the above services will simply ask for emailed responses. That’s good and bad.
The pros to this approach are that you don’t have to worry about being misquoted and you can tee up your responses exactly as wish them to appear in print. The con: as soon as the journalist sees typos or rambling, you’re outta’ there! They don’t have time to edit your responses or ask helpful follow up questions. It’s also very hard to obtain the journalist’s actual email, phone number and Twitter direct message address. You often have to use a cloaked alias which makes it hard to follow up.
Services like Cision, MuckRack and ProfNet are also very good. But they’ll set you back a few quid and you’ll typically have to sit through product demos and a sales pitch before committing to a contract.
After using PR services like those listed above, you will start to see some trends emerge. A small number of journalists and bloggers will keep coming across your radar. After they’ve interviewed you and your colleagues a few times, they may start reaching out to you in advance before posting their interview requests publicly for upcoming stories they’re working on.
That’s how we obtained this one-to-punch in Medium.com and Thrive magazine for our clients, Randy Fox (Two Hawks Consulting) Investing During The Pandemic and Guy Baker (Wealth Teams Alliance) What Should I Do With My Money Considering All of the Volatility and Uncertainty Today?
As our annual CPA/Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey™ shows every year, four out of five advisors (78%) consider press mentions valuable. What’s more, firms expecting double-digit growth are 1.5x more likely than low-growth firms to consider press mentions valuable. Do you think there’s a connection?
What’s your take? We’d like to hear from you.
#investingpandemic #twohawksconsulting #wealthteamsalliance #mediaoutreach #mediaoutreach