Public relations has many facets to it, but perhaps the biggest component is media relations. Clients want to see their brand in the news and typically will see an uptick in business if the right news story hits.
But there is a perfect art to the pitch. To learn more, we reached out to No Limit Agency’s top pitcher and account executive, Patrick Laughlin. Patrick consistently books stories for clients that are meaningful and have an impact on their brand and business. Here we share his insights and how clients can help grow their brands and awareness in the media.
Q. How do you find that special story that is going to really hit home with a reporter?
At No Limit, we always focus on the people in each story and not the brand when pitching a reporter, but finding the special part of a story is on a case-by-case basis. The most important question that I ask myself is why would the reporter be interested in the story, and why would their audience care about it. When I can answer those two questions confidently, and can convey the important pieces of that story to the reporter, I know that more often than not it is going to hit home with them.
Q. How do you pitch a story to be compelling?
Taking the time to find out why the reporter/outlet would be interested in your story is half the battle. When you find this out and focus on what stands out in this story compared to the countless others that they receive on a daily basis, the pitch can be very compelling.
Q. What should clients know about pitching the media?
Clients should know that not every event is going to get press in a market. A common mistake for business owners is to think all their events deserve coverage, but often fail to realize the number of events happening in an area on a given day, let alone a week or month. With that being said, there are many events that will garner press.
Q. What can clients provide you with to be most successful?
I personally think that why certain franchisees chose an opportunity with the brand is a very important question that clients can answer. In many cases people are using a huge chunk of their savings to open up their dream business, but why did they choose a Hand & Stone massage and facial spa, or a Your Pie? Finding these answers usually brings out a big part of their past experience leading up to ownership or even cool stories on how they experienced the brand for the first time.
Q. What makes a successful interview?
By going through the way that you pitch a story to the reporter with the client, it helps them to formulate the proper talking points for an interview. Also, going through what types of stories that the reporter usually writes about and what type of publication it is that they are interviewing with, always helps to set the tone for an interview to be successful.
7) What are key learnings you have taken away from the pitching process?
A key learning that I’ve taken away from the pitching process is that you have to formulate your pitch specifically for the person who is receiving it. It’s pretty obvious that you have to pitch stories different ways between radio, TV, and print publications, but the markets that each of the outlets you are pitching in can determine what reporters are willing to cover. The more and more you work with certain reporters in specific markets you can start to see patterns of the types of stories that they normally cover and how to fit certain stories into specific publications. There is a certain style that goes into each, but if you are polite and work with reporters as if you are on their team, then the whole process gets easier.