By Brad Groznik
A reporter from the Centre Daily Times told me last week that less than half of his stories come from news tips and pitches. That tells me one of two things – either not enough people in the community are reaching out to him or what they’re pitching isn’t newsworthy.
So start reaching out. Contact your local reporters. Most of the time, you can find their emails at the beginning or end of stories or on the publication’s website. If not, call up the publication and ask for the most relevant reporter for your business and their email.
Once you have the reporter’s contact, here are four tips to determine if you have a newsworthy reason to email them.
It’s not a coincidence that the word “new” is part of the word “news.” News is what’s new with your business – new services, new products, new hires, etc. Each time your business does something new – shoot your local reporter a note. It may not always result in a story but you’ll be doing your part in keeping the press up to date on your business.
Sometimes “new” isn’t enough. Trend stories then are when you can point to two or three other businesses doing the same thing as you. Is your business and several others offering free lunch to employees? Are you having a holiday sale like other businesses in your area? These trends could be news to the right reporter. Just keep an eye out to spot them.
There's a lot people can learn from you. Just like the hundreds of talking heads on TV, reporters need experts to contextualize what’s going on in the world. That gives you an opportunity to speak with a reporter as an expert or objective voice. And doing so builds your reputation in your industry and helps you stand out among your competition.
If your business has little new going on, think about what it would take to get a stranger to stop on the street and pay attention. Attempt to break a world record. Host a contest. Be creative and engage your audience. If you can do that, you’ve got news. Call the press!