The following is an excerpt from the business book, Tao of PR: Strategies to Win the PR War, by Mark Macias.
Chapter 2: Waging War
One size does not fit all when it comes to pitching a story idea to the media. In many cases, you will have more success by targeting the proper news medium and reporter through unconventional ways. Newspapers can be a microcosm for this analysis.
Let’s say you want to get publicity for a woman’s clothing designer.
Most publicists would probably take the conventional approach and pitch their story idea to the style section. They wouldn’t think of pitching their designer to the sports editors or reporters.
And in a similar fashion, most publicists would pitch a profile story on a high school football coach to the sports writers, rather than a religion writer.
Those methods are predictable and safe. But in many cases, you can identify overlooked reporters and pitch them with an unconventional approach.
Unconventional Story Pitches
Take the example of the profile story on the high school football coach. What if that high school coach had leadership rules that applied to business? What if that high school coach was extremely religious and based his coaching philosophy on Biblical principles? Suddenly, this story has a new angle that hasn’t been heard.
A story on a football coach with leadership principles could run in many sections of the local paper: sports, business or metro sections. Add in the faith element, and that coach suddenly becomes intriguing to the newspaper’s religious editors.
Likewise, in the case of the aspiring woman’s clothing designer, she becomes unique to the sports pages if her fashion is geared towards women. Sports writers are always pitched ideas on high school coaches. But they are rarely pitched angles around athletic fashion trends for women.
Of course you should always concentrate your pitch on the desired audience. Your story idea or client will stand out if you can find that unconventional angle that others haven’t pursued. You should apply this same-targeted approach when choosing which news outlet to pitch.
Many people make the mistake of pitching to the largest pie rather than focusing on a news outlet that reaches their desired demographics. If your story involves a niche, focus your time and energy on pitching the news outlet that reaches those targeted viewers and readers.
And remember, there is nothing wrong with pitching a conventional story the conventional way. But if you find reporters are ignoring you, take a moment to review your story from a different angle. You might find unconventional is the new conventional.
ABOUT MACIAS PR
Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2021 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. Our founder is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named Mark Macias a Top 50 PR Political Power Player in 2021.