By Jessica Epperly
Pitching a story to media is not always as straightforward as it might seem. There is a lot to consider before picking up the phone to a journalist. The biggest know-how in public relations is knowing who to pitch and when.
Media outlets are typically categorized by their scope: local, regional, national and international. Since scope can range from local to international, it is important to understand the value as well as the limitations each segment of the media offers. The most obvious differentiation is geographical, hence the term “scope.” And although most would agree that the bigger the coverage area the better, this is not always the case with a strategically-planned PR campaign.
First and foremost, one must consider the benefits of story placements in each territory. In some cases, the benefits of placing a story locally has equal or sometimes far greater impact than if the story were to be placed nationally. Ultimately, it’s about knowing where your audience is and having the ability to tailor your pitch to the different segments of your audience. A perfect example would be a campaigning politician. Although they typically have the same overriding message on the campaign trail, they will speak directly to their audience and tailor their message according to the specific issues facing their constituents, be it on a local, regional or national level. How well they tailor their message to each segment can often prove the deciding factor in how well their message resonates with the greater public. Placing a story should have the same objective.
Before pitching to a journalist, think about your audience and what the core of your message is. Does the story angle speak more to a local audience (local media) or could it also be insightful to a national audience (national media). In some cases, it may be both. Still, it is important to give equal consideration to audiences big and small. Just like a politician, you can never underestimate the power of local chatter and how connecting successfully with your audience on a grassroots level can expand into positive chatter amongst the larger segments.