In the past I have written about ways to revamp your style when it comes to pitching. However, it might also be helpful to clarify how to write a pitch that is actually newsworthy for journalists to consider. In the article 11 Things that Journalists Consider Newsworthy, written by Brad Phillips, he explains what topics are newsworthy enough to catch a reporter’s eye.
- Conflict- Consider a journalist a storyteller, and remember that every story has a point in the plot where conflict occurs. The bigger the conflict, the more likely you will capture the attention of the journalist. However, make sure the conflict doesn’t attract negative attention to your company.
- Local- Every publication covers a specific region or geographical range, so don’t try to pitch a story going on in Atlanta to a paper that is only distributed in Nashville, Tenn. If the story isn’t relevant in the journalist’s region, find somewhere else “closer to home” and pitch it there.
- Incident- An event like a shooting, fire or explosion is definitely worthy of being covered.
- Extremes or Superlatives- Highlighting a company that is the first, the last, the biggest or the best at something and making it the main concept of a pitch will make it noticeable to a journalist.
- New- It seems obvious, but highlighting a story that is new and answering the question, “why now?” will gain the coverage. After all, the word “news” already has new in it!
- Timely and Relevant- Events happening in the near future will likely be considered newsworthy. If it is relevant to the time and the place of a news organization, they will be more inclined to write about it.
- Scandal- Any story that is considered scandalous, like a corrupt business stealing money, is always a newsworthy story to pitch. Be careful with this one also; you don’t want to associate your company with a scandal.
- David vs. Goliath- The “big” versus the “small”, whether with a company or people, is an interest piece. Reporters like to write about the “small” company being exploited by the “Goliath” company.
- Incompetence- The press always has a field day when it comes to the executive or politician who can never get it right.
10. Surprising- Stories that can hook reporters in with something unexpected are a good way to get their attention. Recently the headlines have been taken over by the coverage of the life and death of Whitney Houston – a sudden surprise to all.
11. Hypocrisy- Any pitch that can uncover someone/thing that is hypocritical is newsworthy. This type of story is not just one that will only run one day in a paper, but can be covered for weeks. For example, catching someone who protects and fights for animal rights, but is caught wearing fur will be a newsworthy topic.
Before you hit send on an email or call a journalist to pitch your story, go through this list of 11 newsworthy ideas and see if your pitch has one or more of these trends (as long as it is favorable for your company). If it does, try leading with it and watch your pitch turn into a story.