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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

5 qualities that will make your pitch irresistible to reporters

People are hard-wired to find stories with certain qualities interesting.

5 qualities that will make your pitch irresistible to reporters
[Seventyfour /AdobeStock]

The more immediate and current the news development you peg your pitch to, the better. One basic but effective rule of thumb to consider is whether the story could be published at any time during the week or year. If so, then a reporter likely will not consider it timely. New event and service announcements, acquisitions and interviews can all be considered timely, but you can also pin your pitch to a recent news item, much-discussed industry trend, new viral phenomenon or recently released research.

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2. PROXIMITY

The more the news development you’re pitching touches upon local interests and communities, the better—especially if you’re approaching regional news outlets or publications. Some examples of stories that leverage this quality include local initiatives, case studies from local businesses and volunteer initiatives at local organizations. You can leverage virtual communities, too. A properly targeted story that focuses on an online community that shares the same interests, problems, and obsessions is another excellent way to get reporters’ interest.

3. HUMAN INTEREST

Readers are always captivated by stories about other people, so having stories that revolve around three-dimensional central characters never hurts. Case studies, founder stories and interviews all leverage this quality. Even when your pitch revolves around a more abstract announcement or trend, finding specific human examples that are impacted by or exemplify the news can bring the pitch alive for reporters.

4. FRESHNESS 

It makes sense to consider whether a particular reporter covers news like yours when considering where to pitch. But you should also be careful that your particular story doesn’t stray too close to their previous coverage. Stories that hew too closely, or are easily distinguishable from, previous pieces by a person or outlet will likely end up ignored.

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5. RELEVANCE

I’m going to let you in on a little secret every PR pro knows (and that many other professionals have also figured out): The thing that people care about most is themselves. Audiences love content that helps them make decisions, take additional steps toward their goals, solve their problems, or feel like they belong to a larger identity group. When framing your story, consider not just what’s fresh and interesting about it, but also what’s helpful and relevant to your target audience.


Danielle Sabrina is a celebrity publicist and founder of Tribe Builder Media, an award-winning PR firm ranked #5 Best Company in America.

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