HARO, Help A Reporter Out, kindly returned the favor for us recently.
During a webinar hosted by the popular repository of expert news sources, reporters from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and AOL News weighed in on the dos and don’ts of pitching a story to a reporter.
Here’s a brief recap to spread the knowledge. Let’s start with the dos:
Be catchy. Include a subject line that lures the reader in for more.
Be direct. Explain what the news is and why it’s relevant in the first sentence.
Be personal. Be aware of the reporter to whom you are pitching the story. What’s their beat? What are their deadlines?
Be short and sweet. As one participating reporter said—“Don’t try to impress. Pitch a story the same way you would tell your friends over a beer.”
And now for the don’ts.
Don’t make your client the news. Try to put your client in the news- how do they fit into a bigger story that is relevant right now?
Don’t make exaggerated claims.
Don’t pitch stories that have already been done. Do your research!
The general takeaway? Be quick and compelling. And keep on pitching!