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If you want to stand out online and be recognized as an influential brand, it’s a good idea to learn how to appear in the best media. But here’s the truth that only millennials and Gen-Zs want to hear: Trends are everything.
Just in case you’re about to surrender to not being a cool kid who knows, there’s hope. These trends are not about what the trendiest people wear. They’re about what’s happening in your audience’s lives and what they’re talking about.
Staying relevant is also how to grab the attention of journalists to get featured, but a big part of this is timeliness: timeliness is essential in marketing.
If you don’t pay attention to the events that affect your audience, you’re missing out on key opportunities to grab their attention and deepen your connection with them… even if these events seem unrelated to your message and brand to have.
To give you an idea, my agency recently had a client in the relationship coaching niche who was looking for a spot in the popular media in the UK.
The challenge was this: the talk of the town was the developing economic crisis – and relationship advice wasn’t exactly high on the agenda. We knew all about building relationships and staying relevant, but we needed to refresh our approach.
Keep reading to discover the five steps my PR agency used to pitch ideas to journalists and get our client featured in top media — even at an unlikely moment, and how you can too.
Related: 5 Things Not to Do When Pitching Journalists
1. Knowledge is power: use it
Before you consider contacting a journalist, make sure you gain knowledge and inspiration.
To get the attention of a top journalist, you need to know what they’re talking about, their interests and what already grabs their attention. That way, you can identify journalists who are a good fit for you, build real relationships, and pitch accordingly.
To understand the mind of a journalist, do this:
- Look through priority media and social media to assess trending topics.
- Find journalists on social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and pay attention to what they’re posting and what they’re up to.
- Pay attention to the requests of journalists. This tells you the kind of stories they want to see in upcoming pitches — without the guesswork.
At the time of writing this article, the world has just learned of Queen Elizabeth’s death. As you might imagine, this will be a top topic for a while – a great example of a trending topic to pay attention to.
2. Create your pitch list
Bring it back to basics with relationship building basics – after all, it’s what we do best in PR, right?
Once you know the interests of journalists, you can filter the interests that suit you and vice versa. Make a list of journalists you want to pitch to and then build those relationships.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: face-to-face conversations and a focus on real connection help you stand out in a world of cold, scripted pitches. It takes time, but it’s worth it.
3. Collect interesting stories and be creative
When my team and I scanned priority media for our client, we found that the rise in home prices was a trending topic. To put together a powerful pitch, we needed to develop a unique angle by creatively connecting topics that were considered unrelated.
In this case, we leaned on the relevance of money issues to conflict and separation in relationships – related to recessionary relationships.
Make a list of trending topics and stories that interest you, your audience and journalists. Do any further research you need and let those creative juices flow to create an original angle.
Related: Are Your PR Efforts Falling Flat? Here’s How To Fix It
4. Don’t miss the key ingredients of an irresistible pitch
Unfortunately, in a competitive market, it takes more than a trending topic and a creative angle to capture the interest of a top journalist.
The good news? My team recently had the opportunity to get feedback from a journalist who shared her insider tips on how to write a powerful pitch.
A fundamental tip for layering your pitch and enticing journalists is to: statistics, specific facts and personal stories. Sharing real-life stories of how the recession affected the relationships of people in our pitch made it relatable, more reliable, and more appealing.
5. You can’t play if you’re not on the pitch
This is where those solid relationships pay off. You know which journalists are looking for what, and now it’s showtime. Get your pitch out of the shadows.
Journalists’ social media platforms are a great place to request to have your pitch read. LinkedIn and Twitter are often my go-tos. You can also visit platforms where journalists ask questions to experts, such as helpareporter.com (also known as “HARO”).
Don’t worry if your pitch isn’t accepted. Ask for feedback and keep connecting with other journalists who might even be a better fit for you.
Related: Pitching Your Company to a Journalist? This is what works.