How to Pitch Better Brand Stories

As a former TV reporter and anchor, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “How do I get on TV?” Now as the owner of Media Maven, a full-service public relations firm, I’m getting asked that question even more.  

My answer sounds simple, but there is a lot to it: Find your brand’s newsworthy story.

So many entrepreneurs and small business owners think just pitching their product or service is enough because it’s that good. Well I have news for you: it’s not.

Remember, this isn’t advertising. This is media relations. If you want earned media, you need to have a newsworthy story to tell. 

I like to use the three E’s to determine if a story is newsworthy: Will it entertain the audience? Will it educate the audience? Does it have emotion?

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Here’s an example of the three E’s in action. I used to represent the Beebo. You may have seen the creator, Martin Hill, make a deal with Lori Greiner and Ashton Kutcher on “Shark Tank.” Around Father’s Day, I pitched his story to Entrepreneur – not the Beebo. I talked to a writer about how Martin quit his job and became a stay-at-home dad. While he was taking care of his infant son, he noticed a problem and couldn’t find a solution, so he created one. Now, that is a story. Promoting the Beebo as a product is not.

Making something newsworthy means having a “real person” to interview. After you know what newsworthy story you want to pitch, you will probably send an email to a newsdesk, or better yet, use Cision’s media database to find the perfect person to receive your personalized pitch.

If you really want to stand out, include relevant video in your pitch and subject line. Just adding the word “video” in a subject line bumps up open rates. Before even clicking, a reporter knows what’s inside is different and you have something visual to add.

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Most people enjoy watching more than they do reading, especially at work. It’s more entertaining and less time consuming. It also shows you went above and beyond to send a pitch. Not only is video more engaging, but it continues to grow in popularity. If you’re not using it, you need to start.

Here are five ways you can use video to pitch the media:

  • Teach something in an explainer or tutorial video (i.e., DIY project, construction)
  • Perform a demonstration (i.e., cooking a recipe, modeling on the runway)
  • Have someone else review your product or service
  • Show a before and after (i.e., weight loss, cancer survivor)
  • Pitch entirely with a video by showing what you would have typed

Make your video newsworthy by telling the story behind the video. For example, explain why you are taking on a construction project by yourself instead of hiring someone to do it or why the renovation needs to be done. Maybe a family member was in an accident and things need to be more easily accessible. There could be an emotional story to tell.

You could also tie in a before and after weight loss story to something that’s happening locally or nationally, like a plus size model making it on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for the first time or the opening of a new, natural grocery store in your community motivated you to get healthier.

Remember, the media is on the receiving end of more press releases and pitches than they know what to do with, so make your video short and sweet. If you can get to the point quickly using the three E’s I mentioned above, you’ll be on your way to earning more media coverage!

Christina Nicholson is a former TV reporter and anchor who now owns and operates a South Florida-based public relations firm, Media Maven. She is also getting ready to launch Master your PR – an online course that teaches small business owners how to handle public relations on their own.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2