In today’s fast-paced digital world, the news cycle moves more quickly than ever. Just ask the seven-in-ten American adults that report feeling overwhelmed by the quantity of news that comes their way each day. Journalists feel those same pressures, as most report they receive somewhere between 20 and 30 cold PR pitches per day.
With the information cycle moving at such a rampant pace, there is both an opportunity and challenge for PR professionals for “newsjacking,” or inserting their spokespeople’s expertise on hot-button events, topics and issues before the news cycle jumps to what is next. Here are a few tips to ensure you are delivering timely, insightful pitches to journalists when they need them most.
Determine Whether the Story Will Have Lasting Relevance
All stories aren’t built the same. Occasionally, there are breaking news stories like layoff announcements or company mergers that will dominate the news cycle for a day but become buried the next. There are, however, stories that have tremendous ripple effects and make a lasting impact on the news cycle where PR pros have an extensive newsjacking opportunity. These stories are a diamond in the rough for PR pros, as they allow you to debrief with your spokesperson, develop an angle and bring your pitch to media while coverage is ongoing.
Bring a Unique, Additive Perspective to the Conversation
When major news breaks, journalists’ inboxes are flooded with experts ready to comment on the story. One way to ensure that your newsjacking pitch stands out is to provide a unique, additive perspective to what is already being covered, and that is the responsibility of media relations experts to extract from a spokesperson.
PR pros need to ask thought-provoking questions of their spokespeople that get to the heart of the story and potential implications it may have on the world. A pitch headline and subsequent information on a story that journalists have not yet heard will greatly increase the chances of landing an interview.
Understand the Journalist’s Next Move
It is always advisable for PR pros to follow the coverage of the journalists they are pitching, but it becomes especially important when trying to leverage a story the reporter has already covered. When following up an article with a pitch, it is always a great idea to reference that you’ve read a piece they’ve previously published on the topic, even calling out a specific paragraph or point mentioned and relating it to your expert’s opinion.
Inserting your expert’s voice on breaking news topics can be challenging and is certainly not a guaranteed science, but with these three tips, you’ll increase your chances of catching a reporter’s eye.
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