If you’re planning to pitch a story to the media, it’s important to keep in mind that news organisations are most interested in stories that their audiences can relate to. In most cases, having a human face for your story can help contextualise the matter for a journalist and their audience.
On a broader level, having a media relations strategy in place before seeking any media is important, but for individual pitches there are a lot of factors that will determine whether a story will be covered.
But one way to increase your odds of generating media coverage is to make sure that a person or group of people are central to your pitch.
As I often mention to the participants in our media trainings: audiences don’t relate to facts and figures, they relate to people.
Let’s take the state budget as an example. If news outlets presented the coverage of the budget as a series of figures, audiences would switch off very quickly. People need to understand how the budget relates to them, so news organisations find a cross-section of case studies to show how different people will be affected by the financial decisions the government has made.
Similarly, your story could be one that will shape the future of your local community or economy, but if it’s too complex you could struggle to get the media’s attention if you can’t make it relatable.
The sort of people who make great case studies for stories fall into three broad categories: people who are already famous or influential, ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things or everyday people who have a compelling or relatable reason your story impacts them.
If you can get someone who already has a public profile to advocate for your story in the media, then you’re off to a good start, but that’s not always the case.
It’s not enough to simply have a random person serve as the face of your story, you need to give serious consideration to finding the right talent for your story, which will depend on the context, target audience and target publication.
For example, if the story you’re trying to get covered is about a new residential property development, you might try to find a young family hoping to buy their first home who will benefit from the opportunity the development provides.
Housing issues are an ongoing topic of media attention that typically generates significant interest, so highlighting a young family’s situation to link your new development with an already newsworthy topic will dramatically increase your chances of getting media coverage.
More and more, the media are looking for authentic talent, so your case study does not have to be media trained, however, running through some key points with them and briefing them on what to expect is crucial before sticking them in front of the cameras.
In contrast, the media expects your company or organisational spokesperson to be more polished.
ReGen Strategic’s media training program covers the basics of media literacy, approaches to proactive and reactive media, developing and executing a media strategy and the expectations of different forms of media.
But most crucially, ReGen’s team of award-winning former journalists run realistic simulations of both TV and radio interviews to give your spokesperson a chance to put their skills to the test before the real deal.
Contact ReGen Strategic to improve your media readiness with our bespoke media training program.