In the old days, newspapers and publications had a pretty simple way of measuring success: total circulation and newsstand sales. Publishers didn’t have the technology nor the resources to fully understand which section or article captured the most attention and was read most widely. That paradigm has shifted, due in no small part to the shifting habits of readers away from print and towards more digital consumption, redefining how news is defined, produced, and distributed.
“News” is wherever people are talking about things that interest them and reporters are even now being paid by how popular their reporting is, what Tom Forenski of ZDNet calls “pageview journalism”. In the shift from ink to digital, the number of readers coming to a single article can be counted and analyzed (and they are!). This marks a significant shift in how news is reported; journalists now face pressure to produce on already tight deadlines with compensation directly tied to a story’s likelihood of getting high volumes of traffic, unique visitors, and social shares.
If you are pitching journalists for coverage on your business, you now have a bigger card to play. Stories likely to be reported on need to demonstrate appeal, relevance, and, now more than ever, the promise of traffic. Traffic means income to media outlets, and content creators need to bring audience to their publishers for maximum sales revenue. Media publishers need to sell audience to advertisers to justify CPM rates, and if your pitch is bundled with audience, it stands a higher likelihood of being picked up and reported on.
Think about like this: if you are a journalist whose compensation is directly tied to the amount of traffic it can bring to a media publisher and their roster of advertisers, a pitch that combines story with a mini-marketing plan for distribution and reach is going to grab your attention.
The goal is still to sell a story of value to the journalist or editor, convincing them that the exciting new product that your company has been building for months is, in fact, as exciting and valuable as you think it is. Demonstrate that there’s a story worth telling beyond the fact sheet and press release. Hone your skills as a storyteller to communicate exactly why this is a story worth covering. It’s only a great story if it gets told.
Tell the media outlet how you’ll help them distribute the story once it’s published:
- Research and share keywords that the journalist could incorporate into their story to drive traffic.
- Cross-promote the article through your existing communications channels (corporate blog, social outposts, email newsletter)
- Encourage stakeholders (note: don’t mandate) to share the content through their own social network
A pitch that communicates a valuable, interesting story and brings audience into the equation can be downright irresistible in this new age of page-view journalism. Make it easier for the journalist to do their job and you’ll reap the benefits.
What do you think?
(Photo Credit – freedigitalphotos.net)