The challenges of making it into major media outlets aren’t new — and we have written before about facing some hard truths about the modern PR world. But more and more, we are hearing from potential clients and partners who are concerned about whether media outreach is worth the effort, given the increasing difficulty of getting a story into the news. Layoffs and consolidation within the journalism industry have led to fewer reporters who can give a pitch the attention it deserves. Another contributing trend is “glocalization” — which involves local and regional outlets devoting their news space towards national and international stories instead of local events within their regional scope. As a result, a story pitch competes against hot button news topics such as pandemic updates, celebrity gossip and global developments that are more likely to generate clicks and interest.
Make no mistake, the days of blasting out a press release and raking in the coverage are long gone. But that doesn’t mean PR still can’t achieve meaningful results for certain causes and companies. Here are some strategies we recommend for those times when your pitch just can’t seem to break through:
- Use Your Own Channels — We’re in a golden age of self-published content, where the ability to create and maintain platforms for content curation is accessible not just to large corporations, but also to small organizations and even individuals. If a reporter won’t pick up your story, write it yourself — and post it on social media, add it to your website/blog and send it out via email newsletter. The barriers between content producer and consumer are thinner than ever, so take advantage of this opportunity to be your own newsroom.
- Scramble Your Pitch — You worked hard on that pitch, and it can be frustrating to see it ignored. But, fair or not, it hasn’t caught the attention of the folks you’ve been trying to place it with, so it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Every story has more than one angle, so try a new approach for your pitch and rewrite it with a different structure around the same basic news hook. What got ignored in the past may register with the right editor under a new coat of paint — even if the basic story is the same in both pitches.
- Widen Your Net — Are you sure you’re pitching to the right outlets? The media ecosystem is more diverse than ever, and an ever-evolving array of freelancers and influencers are providing alternatives to traditional reporters. If your pitch is landing with a thud, consider broadening the scope of who you’re sending it to — you might be surprised that your initial research didn’t turn up some of the best candidates for the story.
Having trouble turning your news into a story? Our team at the Belfort Group is comprised of seasoned journalists and PR pros, with a proprietary system — called the BG Newsroom — to maximize the audience for your content. Let’s talk about how we can help you navigate the modern media landscape and keep the stories you want to promote front and center. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.