The best way to get your voice heard is by “pitching” your local media outlets. A pitch is a letter to a newspaper editor or writer that sells your story idea and convinces them to call you for an interview. It should tease your story, including the most important information but not every detail.
Newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations rely on pitches from people like you to guide the issues they cover. They receive many pitches every week. Below are a few tips to ensure yours stands out from the crowd.
- Identify local media outlets that might be interested in covering your story.
- Look on the media outlet’s website for the reporter who would most likely cover the topic you’re pitching, e.g., health/medicine reporter. This should be your main point of contact. You can also call the news desk and ask to speak to an editorial assistant, who should be able to connect you to the best person to cover your story.
- Write your pitch.
- Keep it short.
- Highlight the local angle. How does a national issue affect your local community?
- Put a face on your story. Describe your family and its connection to the community as you relay the experience you’ve gone through.
- Lead with emotion, follow with facts. Use the information shared in this toolkit.
- Give your story an element of newsworthiness and timeliness. Why now? It could be a related awareness day/month or your child’s birthday.
- Explain how your story is different from other topics covered in the past.
- So much in the news can be negative. The media is always looking for positive, human-interest stories that are uplifting. Position your story and the Center as part of the solution.
- Send your pitch to the appropriate person, along with pictures.
- If your pitch is tied to an event, be sure to give the media lead time (a few weeks, if possible) to cover it, and let them know that photo opportunities will be available.
- Include your contact information and let the reporter know they can call you any time with additional questions. Also be sure to mention that the Center’s experts are available for interviews, as well.
- Thank them for their time.
Our Center has a dedicated PR specialist who is happy to help you share your story and connect reporters with our experts. For more information, contact Ashley Moore at 267-426-6071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.