Media Relations: Finding Your Niche in the News

by Kaitlin Luna

As public relations professionals, we all understand the importance of getting our clients featured in the news. However, making this a reality as newsrooms around the country downsize and as news content has become more and more fragmented can be difficult. How can we get through the clutter and show our local communities, our country, and even the world the importance of our message? By pitching fabulous story ideas!

Lay the foundation

The first step is to decide what is newsworthy. To be newsworthy is to be relevant to the general public and/or to current events. This could mean a new program, fundraising effort, success story, or new Executive Director. It is important to put yourself in the shoes of a reporter and in the shoes of the audience. What stories will resonate with them? What stories will grab their attention in print, broadcast, or online?

Craft your pitches 

This takes time and consideration. Here is what you have to do:

  • Consider the audience – find reporters who produce content related to your client’s mission.
  • Be personal and genuine – let your love for your organization shine through.
  • Be brief and specific– get to the point within the first or second line of the pitch. Explain how your story would be of interest to their audience.
  • Attention-grabbing subject line – be creative with your subject line to increase “clickability.”

Contact the right reporter

Get in touch with reporters who have produced content that is related to your organization. You can use traditional methods as well as new methods, such as social media.

Other ways to build rapport with reporters is to stay up-to-date on their latest work and to contact them when you’re not pitching a story.

Learn more

In my free 15-minute webinar, you will learn how to find reporters who are most likely to cover your stories, effective ways to reach out them, and what to include in your pitch to garner the media attention your organization deserves. I use real-life examples from my own professional experience along with recent news stories featuring small, regional non-profit organizations in Philadelphia and Tucson, Arizona.

Kids from Ethel Allen middle school BOOST site.(credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio)BOOST, a Philadelphia-based non-profit received news 
coverage by CBS Philly for a big grant they received.
(Photo credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio)

Kaitlin Luna is the Coordinator of Media and Public Relations at Gallaudet University and is in her fourth semester in the Master of Professional Studies Program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Ithaca College and spent four years as television news reporter, fill-in anchor, producer, and associate producer in small and medium news markets before switching to the wonderful field of public relations. Kaitlin’s professional experience also includes being a deputy press secretary for a gubernatorial campaign in New Mexico and as a communications manager for a hospitality software company in Washington, D.C. Connect with Kaitlin through LinkedIn.