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By Elahe Ziai, IMIX
In recent years, with intense competition for attention in the media world, and so many newspapers, platforms, channels, aggregate sites, and deadlines, it seems impossible to win a journalist’s attention or figure out a successful pitch.
In this blog, we will explain how to get media interest in your pitch/event and provide you with some tips to follow when you work with media.
Why is it important to talk to local media?
Regardless of the media type, from print to television, if you submit a great story to a journalist, your event can land press coverage that will attract the attention and capture the curiosity of your audience and as a result secure more attendees to your event.
Nevertheless, we all know pitching to a journalist might sound like a very complex process. The little secret is that the journalists love human interest stories, especially when it is local, relevant and detailed. So, by contacting them and offering them a pitch, you technically are doing their job for them. Local journalists will be very grateful for stories they can report on because they’re overstretched and short-staffed, and their readers/listeners like hearing about what is going on in the local area.
What do you have to offer:
Try to be clear about what you have/can offer. Whether it is a story, insight into the daily news, or promoting your event/campaign. If it is a story of another person, try to make sure they do understand the process and what they are happy/not happy to share. IMIX’s safeguarding checklist can be a good tool to use.
If language is a barrier, try to see how you can make the process easier for both sides (booking an interpreter, asking for the questions in advance, having a volunteer to help with the interpretation).
How to get in touch with a local journalist:
Local news outlets are easier to obtain coverage as they normally cover a niche area, and there will be less competition to get their interest. If you do not know any local media sources in your area, just use Google to find out what is out there.
- Find some relevant local media resources
- Find the right journalist (Check some of their previous work, you can use Twitter or google them)
- Find the journalist’s contact information (this may be on their newspaper’s website, in their Twitter bio, or you can ask us to look it up for you)
- Timing is key – try to contact them ahead of your event, so they have time to prepare
- Approach one journalist at a time, as they are more likely to cover it if the story is an exclusive
How to put together a pitch:
You might think as long as you email a journalist and tell them about your event/story, it would be a good pitch. But the most important aspect of each pitch is to emphasize how the story/event is relevant to a news outlet and why they should cover it. A strong pitch:
- Think of an interesting subject for your email, as sometimes it can be used as the headline for the piece
- Keep it simple/no jargon
- Identify the reason(s), of why your story is relevant to them
- The main points of your story/event
- Be realistic about what you can offer, do not overpromise (Names, photos, videos)
- Ensure all the information they need is easily available.
- Set some boundaries
- Links to your campaign/event
- Contact information of a person they need to talk to
Well done, you technically did your pitch, though it is not finished yet. There is no guarantee that your story gets coverage by sending one email, and most of the time you need to do some follow-up.
If you do not hear back from a particular journalist in three days, try to send them a follow-up email. Often, you would have to send the email two to three times before you receive a reply. But if you have not heard back again then you can try another journalist.
Some useful links:
This blog was a short guide to help you through the process of pitching to your local media. If you still are not sure about something, IMIX is here to support you with any questions regarding your media work. Please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
IMIX is a charity that works to change the conversation about migration and refugees to create a more welcoming society. IMIX leads on media for Refugee Week.