Under my guise of a legitimate business person, I still get random emails from complete strangers asking for advise and assistance. Since I’m more of a writer now than an executive for hire, I typically do things for free because…well, I can. So when I received an email from a middle-aged woman based in Atlanta, who was hired to be the marketing manager for an independent healthcare company, I figured, why not? The press release was awful, so I rewrote it for her, along the way, educating her on the what’s, why’s and wherefor’s of writing a good release.
About a month later, I was wondering what ever became of her effort, and sent her an email. Turns out she sent me a query on my suggestions for distribution, but I was traveling, and the email went to my junk folder. She was attempting local press only, and got one hit. In response to her question about– what can I do now? and if she had any hope for more attention, I gave her the following response. After I press send, I realized this was relevant information for anyone with a business and a desire for more press.
Remember two things:
1- the media is always hungry for stories. Sending a 2 sentence pitch to an editor happens every day.
2- pitching is very simple and relies on 3 basic elements- a case study (or proof point), a visual, and access
Here was my response to Winnie M.
“The interesting thing about local media as that they typically love to give local organizations play. However, it almost always needs to have a visual or a hook. That typically comes in the form of case studies. Simply stated, the case study is no more than a person who has had an experience that can be used by the media as an example of someone who has been personally affected in a positive way. This gives the media outlets what they need—evidence of use, pictures of the event/subject (which means credibility and visuals) as well as a reason to write about it. For instance, you have a new partnership announcement, which provides a service to many people. Were you already providing this service (without a formal partnership) and then, because of the success you enjoyed, you elected to make it formal? This would be the 10 second verbal voice mail left to the editor(s), then you offer up several individuals who benefited, and they can take their pic.
That is essentially how I made my first pitches to the Wall Street Journal and many others- but it needs a national stage at that level. You are local, so it’s even more relevant when you provide locally-based individuals.