Attempting to ‘sell’ a story to a journalist isn’t always a straight forward affair; and even after many years working for B2B PR agencies I’d say it’s probably harder now than ever before. With many publications now running a skeletal staff and competition for editorial space at an all-time high, just getting through to speak to a national journalist is the first hurdle. Then, if you manage to actually get them live on the line, you’ve got just seconds to work your magic and gain their interest.
Now unfortunately, there’s no exact science to selling a story to a journalist, but there are a few things you can do to give yourself a fighting chance:
- Never call a journalist when they’re working on deadline. They won’t thank you for your call and they are unlikely to want to listen properly to what you are trying to tell them.
- Do your research and try to speak to a publication and journalist that covers your subject area. It may seem obvious, but targeting journalists with stories of no interest to them is always top of their ‘things PRs get wrong’ list.
- Try to give the journalist the full package from the outset. Good story – check! Spokesperson available – check! Photography to accompany the story – check! You’re good to go!
- Journalists love extremes! If your story can contain superlatives such as the first, the worst, the biggest or the fastest, then chances are the journalist will sit up and listen.
- Cut to the chase – journalists aren’t our friends and they don’t want us to ask them how they are, or if they’re looking forward to the Christmas holidays. Don’t waste their time or yours and dive straight in with the reason for your call!
Now I can’t guarantee that if you follow this advice a journalist will run your story, but the above points may help give you a fighting chance.
Fiona Whyatt has worked in B2B PR for many years. She loves blogging!