PRo Tips: 5 Creative Ways to Get a Reporter’s Attention

Securing the interest of a reporter or editor is an important skill for every PR professional. However, it’s common for some pitches to come up short. When your usual strategies for outreach aren’t working, try these alternative tactics from The Bliss Group’s Media Specialist Team to capture the interest of reporters.

  1. Use Survey Data

Commissioning a survey is a great way to generate media interest around a specific topic. However, it’s important that the information you share is timely, relevant, and new.

If you don’t have the ability to commission a net new survey, weaving in data from relevant outside research or reports into your pitches can help to make them more interesting and appealing for reporters.

  1. Try an Exclusive Pitch

Muck Rack’s journalism report revealed that 76% of reporters are more likely to cover a story if offered an exclusive. Offering an exclusive to a reporter is typically a win-win situation: the reporter has the story out before their competitors and the client will have a feature piece in a desirable outlet.

Exclusive offers also tend to help build relationships with reporters. However, it does require advanced planning such as the finalizing of press releases, navigating spokesperson availability and having a media-friendly approved version of a survey available to send prior to full launch.

  1. Expand Spokesperson Availability  

We tend to think of the Friday before a holiday weekend as a seemingly “quiet” time. But it can pay off to have a client who is accessible for possible media opportunities when other spokespeople are unavailable. Holidays and weekends can be a valuable time for emerging and front runner media spokespeople and their companies to make a media splash.

Reporters don’t necessarily start working on a story within the neat 9-to-5 schedule we follow. This is especially true for broadcast, wires, top tier online and national dailies. The news is on a 24-hour cycle so there’s value in spokespeople being available to speak to the press, especially for breaking news, when there’s less competition and sources available.

  1. Offer Up a Byline

Battling for media attention solely on the basis of “this person/service/product is impactful for the market and you should speak with them” can only go so far. Bylines can be an impactful alternative to commentary when the news simply isn’t lining up with anything in a spokesperson’s wheelhouse.

But where do you get the content for a byline? Try hosting a content capture call or conducting research to find relevant stats or trends that your client could speak to. Or, if your client regularly publishes blogs, ask for the blog postings in advance to pitch to the media. Another option is to look into your rolodex for content to repurpose – if you’ve previously developed materials but didn’t find a home for it (blog, placement etc.), consider using that content to produce another byline.

  1. Use Emotion to Bring a Pitch to Life

Harnessing the power of emotion can help make inroads to the hearts and minds of reporters and editors. While PR often relies on visuals to convey information and help audiences understand compelling key messages, it’s important for PR professionals to have a deep understanding of both their clients and its target audiences. This allows us to draft pitches with messaging that focuses on a brand’s overall feeling, and it also produces more thought provoking and enticing stories to offer to the media.

The next time a pitch falls flat, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board to brainstorm creative ways to connect with a reporter. Employing strategies like survey data, bylines and emotive language can be helpful tools when trying to catch the attention of reporters in a crowded media environment.  

Photo by Scott Webb via Pexels