As PR professionals we enjoy being custodians of information and counselling our clients on the information we feel will best cut through to target consumers and communities. Adapting and evolving how we work with editorial media to communicate these messages is one of the most important and enjoyable parts of our job.
It is no secret that all media like exclusive content, and as such some of the most valuable content we can generate for our clients will come via customising information to suit particular media outlets. There is often the assumption that PR people blanket distribute media releases, but this shouldn’t be the case when approaching a media campaign strategically.
There are always a couple of key points to keep in mind when pitching exclusive content.
- Tailoring your story to best suit your media target and their audience
- Transparency is vital
- Expectations need to be managed
When developing a media strategy we use a matrix that plots out exclusive content to offer media with information we know would interest them. Key messages can also be tracked in this way, as not every message will be relevant to every media outlet. Research the media outlet – know the type of content they like to publish and the way it’s delivered, and suggest the section you feel the content will work best for when appropriate.
Generally the media outlet or journalist will understand your requirement to re-pitch the information elsewhere if they are not interested. Suggest a deadline by which they respond on whether they’re interested in the content after which you can look to take it to another outlet. The entire process needs to be transparent.
You can also look to pitch the same information across non-competitive platforms, so long as this too is transparent. For example one story may be offered as an exclusive to a Sunday paper, while also offered as an exclusive to a breakfast TV program.
Challenges can of course arise whilst your pitching exclusive content as any story can be pipped at the post by a bigger story or knocked off at the final edit. Expectations should always remain realistic – both your own and your clients!
Finally, don’t forget to always make sure you can deliver on what you’re offering as an exclusive – ensure the talent is available for comment, that the product or brand you’re profiling is ready for launch and the spokesperson is in the country at the time of the interview!
Posted by Phoebe Jackson